Woman has 3D printed ear fitted after losing earlobe 55 years ago

A woman who lost her left ear in a car crash 55 years ago has become the first person in Australia to receive a new ear through the wonders of 3D printing.

Colleen Murray broke down in tears when she saw her reflection for the first time since the ear was installed.

“It’s wonderful,” she said, looking in disbelief at the realistic prosthetic attachment.

Colleen Murray has her new ear fitted. Photo: 7 News
Colleen Murray has her new ear fitted. Photo: 7 News

A team of medical scientists used 3D printing to mould the silicon ear, using a scan of Mrs Murray’s right ear to cast a perfect replica for her left.

Prosthetist Brenton Cadd said the technology has changed the world of medicine.


“The shape is much better, the size is the same and that’s all due to the 3D printing,” he told 7 News

Complete with a piercing, it snaps like a fridge magnet to titanium stumps in the side of the head.

With a make-up brush to correct the colour, the end result has Colleen smiling from ear to ear.

Mrs Murray breaks down after seeing her reflection. Photo: 7 News
Mrs Murray breaks down after seeing her reflection. Photo: 7 News
The prosthetic ear is made out of a skin-like silicone material. Photo: 7 News
The prosthetic ear is made out of a skin-like silicone material. Photo: 7 News

“I was born with two ears and I've wanted two ears and you've done it for me,” Mrs Murray told her doctors.

“Thank you very much.”

Prosthetist and Deakin University professor Dr Mazer Mohammed said the new technology is creating opportunities never before thought possible.

“There's only maybe one or two examples in the world as well so Australia could physically be leading the world in this capability,” he told 7 News.

“What we offer with our techniques is a like-for-like, 100 per cent reproduction of that patient's own anatomy. You just can't ask for better than that.”

Mrs Murray's new ear is extremely realistic, and she is thrilled at the results. Photo: 7 News
Mrs Murray's new ear is extremely realistic, and she is thrilled at the results. Photo: 7 News

Medical scientists now confident they are on the verge of creating complex tissue, bones and cartilage through 3D printing.

Apart from other prosthetics like arms and legs, scientists have already implanted printed muscle and bone into animals, with promising results.

Follow this reporter on Twitter: @karenosullivan7

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