3D Bio-Printing May Relegate Cauliflower Ear to an Annoyance of the Past

New Developments in Bio-Printing Technology Regarding Cauliflower Ear

In a recent research paper, first published in Science Advances, Professor Maling Gou explains how his team used a microchip (called a digital mirror device) in conjunction with “Bioink” (a viscous fluid made up of cartilage cells and various proprietary chemicals) to repair misshapen ears in mice. Professor Gou is confident this new non surgical procedure will be just as effective for humans suffering from cauliflower ear. Clinical studies will begin soon.

How Bioink Works

To initiate this new, non-surgical, process of repairing cauliflower ears Bioink is injected into the back of the ear. Next, a programmable microchip is placed under the skin of the ear. The microchip directs the Bioink to begin building successive layers of new, healthy, structural, ear tissue. Positive results can be seen within twenty seconds. After thirty days the ear appears normal and is supported with the necessary blood vessels.

What is Cauliflower Ear

Cauliflower ear is a common injury in combat sports like jiu jitsu, wrestling, boxing and MMA. The most common cause of cauliflower ear is repeated blunt force trauma to the ear. This causes an accumulation of blood under the ear. This blood then clots and will, potentially, block blood flow and the necessary nutrients to the cartilage of the ear. When this occurs the cartilage is damaged and often folds in on itself as scar tissue begins to accumulate. Over time the ear will harden and become bulbous in appearance.


If severe enough cauliflower ear can hinder one’s hearing and make simple pleasures like the use of ear buds an enjoyment of the past. The easiest way to prevent cauliflower ear is to wear protective headgear as a preventative strategy. Unfortunately, once the damaged ear hardens, historically, surgery has been the go to remedy. However, with the latest developments in bio-printing technology cauliflower ear surgery may become a relic of the past.


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