Nature Outline 

Eardrum regeneration: membrane repair

A burst eardrum — like a stubbed toe — is a common injury. Although ruptures can cause pain and hearing loss, most will heal naturally. For those that don’t, however, the only option is specialist surgery, but this is expensive and carries risks. It would be far better to try to stimulate the eardrum to heal itself, which is what tissue-engineering researchers think they have achieved.

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Ruptured eardrums are relatively common. Fortunately, small tears usually heal by themselves. But some large tears need to be repaired by a surgeon. This animation shows how a new tissue engineering technique could make that process much easier and cheaper. The technique uses a scaffold and growth factor to stimulate the eardrum’s own cells to grow over the tear.