Use of 3D printing for personal optimized nasal drug delivery

The Need

Nasal sinusitis is one of the most common medical conditions in the US, affecting an estimated 12% of individuals, or some 29.4 million people (National Health Interview Survey 2015, CDC).Topical sinus irrigations (e.g. neti-pot, irrigation squeeze bottles) play an integral role in the management of sinusitis and are often more effective in drug delivery than other topical methods such as nasal sprays, nebulizers, or atomizers. However, due to the intricate anatomy of the human nasal airway, the ability to reach target sinuses is highly variable and unpredictable. While the irrigation procedure includes many variables, such as head position, injection angle, and flow rates, the optimal balance is unknown. Additionally, there are likely significant differences between individual sinuses that may change the optimal conditions. For this reason, when a patient's symptoms fail to improve after repeated irrigations, it is difficult to determine whether the irrigation itself is not working, or the irrigation doesn’t penetrate effectively.

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University led by Kai Zhao, have developed an irrigation guidance method based on 3D printed replicas of patients' nasal cavities. These replicas provide patients and clincians with the ability to view models for determining more precise, personalized irrigation strategies.

Commercial Applications

  • Medicine
  • Personalized medicine
  • Models
  • Otolaryngology


  • Can be applied to nasal drops/ sprays
  • Visualization of the best technique for irrigation
  • More effective at-home treatment

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