Multimodal additive manufacturing of biomimetic tympanic membrane replacements with near tissue-like acousto-mechanical and biological properties

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung


The three additive manufacturing techniques fused deposition modeling, gel plotting and melt electrowriting were combined to develop a mimicry of the tympanic membrane (TM) to tackle large TM perforations caused by chronic otitis media. The mimicry of the collagen fiber orientation of the TM was accompanied by a study of multiple funnel-shaped mimics of the TM morphology, resulting in mechanical and acoustic properties similar to those of the eardrum. For the different 3D printing techniques used, the process parameters were optimized to allow reasonable microfiber arrangements within the melt electrowriting setup. Interestingly, the fiber pattern was less important for the acousto-mechanical properties than the overall morphology. Furthermore, the behavior of keratinocytes and fibroblasts is crucial for the repair of the TM, and an in vitro study showed a high biocompatibility of both primary cell types while mimicking the respective cell layers of the TM. A simulation of the in vivo ingrowth of both cell types resulted in a cell growth orientation similar to the original collagen fiber orientation of the TM. Overall, the combined approach showed all the necessary parameters to support the growth of a neo-epithelial layer with a similar structure and morphology to the original membrane. It therefore offers a suitable alternative to autologous materials for the treatment of chronic otitis media. Statement of significance: Millions of people worldwide suffer from chronic middle ear infections. Although the tympanic membrane (TM) can be reconstructed with autologous materials, the grafts used for this purpose require extensive manual preparation during surgery. This affects not only the hearing ability but also the stability of the reconstructed TM, especially in the case of full TM reconstruction. The synthetic alternative presented here mimicked not only the fibrous structure of the TM but also its morphology, resulting in similar acousto-mechanical properties. Furthermore, its high biocompatibility supported the migration of keratinocytes and fibroblasts to form a neo-epithelial layer. Overall, this completely new TM replacement was achieved by combining three different additive manufacturing processes.


Seiten (von - bis)124-141
FachzeitschriftActa biomaterialia
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 15 Okt. 2023

Externe IDs

PubMed 37696412
ORCID /0000-0001-9075-5121/work/146165217
ORCID /0000-0002-3061-0171/work/146166251



  • Additive manufacturing, Melt electrowriting, Otitis media, Tympanic membrane