Researchers at St. Mary’s Hospital have discovered a new technology that can treat deviated nasal septum with 3D printing technology, the hospital said Monday.
|From left, Professors Kim Sung-won, Kim Do-hyun and Hwang Sea-hwan|
Deviated nasal septum occurs when the nasal septum, located vertically in the middle of the human nose and divides the nostrils into two, is bent slightly in one direction. The condition can cause nasal obstruction or sleep disorder.
Although the degree varies, the deviated nasal septum is one of the chronic nasal diseases that affect 70 percent of the general population. According to the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, more than 50,000 people received surgery for nasal septal deviation in 2016.
The team, led by Professors Kim Sung-won and Kim Do-hyun of the department of otorhinolaryngology at the hospital, treated 20 patients with nasal septal deformity who portrayed modification of their nose with their new nasal septum correction surgery. Professor Hwang Sea-hwan at the Catholic University of Korea Bucheon St. Mary’s Hospital also participated in the operation.
The patients, aged 18-74, participating in the study had persistent nasal obstruction with a score of more than 20 on the Nasal Obstruction Symptom Evaluation scores.
After calibrating the patient’s nasal septum through surgery, the team manufactured a splint to insert in the tip of the patient’s nose using a 3D printer to hold the artificial implant in place. Through existing experiments, the researchers made a product that had similar characteristics to those of actual cartilage using polycaprolactone (PCL).
There were no postoperative complications, while the nasal airway test, performed to determine the cross-sectional area of the nasal cavity through a computed tomography scan, showed significant improvement. Also, the team confirmed improvement in the angle of the nasal septum, which indicates the degree of nose bending.
The visual analog scale, which assesses the intensity of personal pain, was 90.9 out of 100 on average, while the doctor’s convenience of material use was 88.3 out of 100 on average.
“Although various artificial scaffolds have been tried, nasal septum correction is difficult to treat with autologous cartilage as it is too thick to make the nose narrow or difficult to manipulate,” Professor Kim Do-hyun said. “The results of this study show that the synthetic microstructure PCL inserts, which uses 3D printing, have a thin thickness as a splint, have appropriate mechanical strength, easy to suture and provide convenience for surgery, and exhibit excellent biocompatibility in the patient's nose after surgery.”
Such factors are why the new technology can be used in various future facial reconstruction areas, Kim added.
JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery published the results of the study.
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