Research advances breast reconstruction

Research advances breast reconstruction

Breast reconstruction surgery will become both safer and more realistic thanks to research led by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia.

Professor Dietmar W. Hutmacher from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) recently conducted a research project in collaboration with engineers and surgeons in Singapore and Germany, which used computer aided design (CAD) to produce moulds accurately modelled on a laser scan of a patient's healthy breast.

Surgeons successfully used the moulds during three operations.

"Previously the surgeon would do everything by eye and feel. With the mould they have a physical template to check out the exact shape and tissue volume needed for the reconstruction surgery," Professor Hutmacher said.

The three patients taking part in the study reported higher levels of satisfaction with the surgery results than those in a .

While these moulds have proven to be useful in surgery where tissue is taken from a patient's own body, for example, their abdomen, Professor Hutmacher is now developing the technology so that it can allow for engineering.

The CAD which created the moulds has also been used to create biodegradable 3D scaffolds, on which a patient's own tissue could be grown.

"When you think about the volume of a breast, to recreate this with randomly shaped tissue removed from elsewhere on a patient's body is quite difficult. Normally patients have two or three operations to enable the surgeon to correct and get the shape right," Professor Hutmacher said.

"With scaffolding you can get the shape and form right from the beginning, using a small amount of tissue - around one cubic centimetre - from the patient.

"The is biodegradable. After two to three years it will dissolve, whereas , the most common material used in surgery, stays forever and can cause a lot of long-term problems such as fibrous encapsulation."

Professor Hutmacher said that he is currently testing different materials for the scaffolding. The goal is to have this technology ready for clinical use in three to five years.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

What are the chances that your dad isn't your dad?

Apr 16, 2014

How confident are you that the man you call dad is really your biological father? If you believe some of the most commonly-quoted figures, you could be forgiven for not being very confident at all. But how ...

New technology that is revealing the science of chewing

Apr 15, 2014

CSIRO's 3D mastication modelling, demonstrated for the first time in Melbourne today, is starting to provide researchers with new understanding of how to reduce salt, sugar and fat in food products, as well ...

After skin cancer, removable model replaces real ear

Apr 11, 2014

(HealthDay)—During his 10-year struggle with basal cell carcinoma, Henry Fiorentini emerged minus his right ear, and minus the hearing that goes with it. The good news: Today, the 56-year-old IT programmer ...

Italy scraps ban on donor-assisted reproduction

Apr 09, 2014

Italy's Constitutional Court on Wednesday struck down a Catholic Church-backed ban against assisted reproduction with sperm or egg donors that has forced thousands of sterile couples to seek help abroad.

User comments