The Zopf Lab integrates additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, in medical applications to enhance patient care and outcomes. The lab is involved in medical device development and tissue engineering for several applications within Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. One area of focus is Pediatric congenital and craniofacial malformations. Tissue engineering focus is on cartilaginous tissue engineering for ear and nose reconstruction. These tissue scaffolds are in preclinical evaluation.
Another focus is using 3D printing to develop high fidelity simulation devices to enrich surgical training. Use of medical models is also being investigated as is their potential to improve surgical outcomes and patient and family satisfaction.
Microtia repair is an anatomically and technically challenging procedure. However, with the relatively recent improvements in 3D-printing, we now have the potential to revolutionize repair by creating life-like and highly precise ear scaffolds. When combined with biological engineering and the implantation of native cells and tissues, we seek to design individualized and host-appropriate implants to provide more accurate aesthetics and better biomechanical properties.
Surgical simulators are crucial for allowing surgical trainees confidence and expertise in performing procedures in which they would otherwise have limited experience. To this end, we strive to produce high-fidelity models of such common conditions as cleft lip and cleft palate.