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Lenny Terry

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Customizable 3D-Printed Stapes Prosthesis for the Human Ear

Uses Medical Imaging to Personalize Shape and Achieves Better Acoustic and Mechanical Properties

This 3D-printed prosthetic mimics the form and function of the stapes bone, a stirrup-shaped bone found in the human middle ear that transmits sound vibrations. The stapes works with the malleus and incus bones to convey sound vibrations to the inner ear, which processes them into neural data for the brain. Otosclerosis is a congenital or spontaneous-onset disease that prevents those three bones in the middle ear from moving, resulting in conductive hearing loss. Two common treatments are stapedectomy, the surgical removal of the stapes and replacement with an artificial prosthesis, and stapedotomy, the creation of a small hole in the base of the stapes followed by the insertion of an artificial prosthesis into that hole. Available prosthetic models are standardized and not individualized for each patient. Additionally, surgical complications are common when installing conventional prosthetics.

Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a 3D-printed stapes prosthetic customized for each patient. Crafted based on a patient’s individual measurements collected through medical imaging, a custom stapes prosthesis made of biocompatible polymers implants into the patient without incident.



3D-printed stapes prosthesis that better functions like the actual bone in the human ear



  • Uses a polymer more closely related to stapes bone tissue than metal prosthetics, providing a more biocompatible substitute for the stapes
  • Personalized prosthesis 3D-printed for each patient, improving acoustic and mechanical properties


Medical imaging of a patient provides a template model stapes. Computer-aided design software translates the template into a 3D model, which a 3D printer produces from input polymers. The generated stapes prosthesis is biocompatible with the middle ear and replicates the auditory and mechanical function of the original bone.

Research Terms: Engineering > Materials Sciences
Keywords: ;
Technology Inventors: Brenda Burke
Gavin Carter
Nancy Ruzycki
Technology Information URL:
University: University of Florida
Tech Transfer URL:

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