According to a study, researchers examined an algorithm can be used to model and print a three-dimensional (3-D) prosthesis of a human nose. The study was published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.To describe a novel computer algorithm for the creation of a 3-D model of a nose and to evaluate the similarity of appearance of the nasal p rosthesis with that of the individual’s nose.

A prospective pilot study with a cross-sectional survey was conducted at a tertiary care academic center. Five volunteers were used for creation of the nasal prostheses, and 36 survey respondents with a medical background were involved in evaluating the nasal prostheses.

Nasal cutaneous defects result from Mohs surgery for the treatment of malignant neoplasms such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Nasal defects caused by trauma are less commonly seen and are caused most often by amputations due to dog bites or crush injuries.


The similarity between 3-D printed nasal models and photographs of the volunteers’ noses based on survey data. Thirty-six survey respondents evaluated 4 views for each of the 5 modeled noses (from 4 women and 1 man; mean [SD] age, 26.6 [5.7] years). The mean (SD) score for the overall similarity between the photographs and the 3-D models was 8.42 (1.34).

The mean scores for each nasal comparison ranged from 7.97 to 8.62. According to the survey, respondents were able to match the correct 3-D nose to the corresponding volunteers’ photographs in 171 of 175 photographs (97.7%). All surveyed clinicians indicated that they would consider using this tool to create a temporary prosthesis instead of referring to a prosthodontist.

This novel algorithm has the ability to produce anatomically accurate, temporary nasal prostheses for patients undergoing total rhinectomy. This low-cost solution obviates the need for referral to an anaplastologist for creation of a temporary nasal prosthesis while further reconstructive efforts may be planned. More investigations are necessary to definitively determine the applicability of this technique to different nasal subtypes and the ideal printing material to do so.

This algorithm can be used to model and print a 3-D prosthesis of a human nose. The printed models closely depicted the photographs of each volunteer’s nose and can potentially be used to create a temporary prosthesis to fill external nasal defects. The appropriate clinical application of this technique is yet to be determined.