Mar 23, 2017 | By Tess
An innovative method for using 3D printed tissue-like lattice structures to reconstruct breast tissue for breast cancer survivors has been awarded the Théophile-Legrand first prize in France. The project, called MAT(T)ISSE, was pioneered by Julien Payen, a doctorate at the National School of Arts and Textile Industries in Lille, and Pierre-Marie Danze, who holds a PhD in Life and Health Sciences at Lille 1 University.
Currently, there are two dominant methods used for breast reconstruction in women who have gone through mastectomies: implanting silicone prostheses, or lipofilling, which consists of grafting autologous fatty tissues in the breast. Both procedures present challenges, however, as they can be risky (in terms of the patient’s health and comfort) and are very expensive.
Prompted by the disadvantages posed by the two existing procedures, the researchers conceived of a new bio-absorbable prosthesis which could revolutionize reconstructive breast surgery. The technique used to implant the prosthesis draws from both established methods in that it combines the injection of autologous adipose tissues with a “resorbable” implant. The implant, which is made up of a 3D printed shell and bio-resorbable lattice textile interior, helps to support cell growth in the breast.
Additionally, by using 3D printing to create the implant’s shell, doctors can customize the shape of the implant to fit the morphology of the patient’s chest, which is determined using MRI scans. Once implanted, fat from the patient can be attached to the textile-like structure of the implant, which promotes a timely and natural reconstruction.
According to the researchers, the breast implant shell can be filled within about six to eight weeks, after which the 3D printed implant is reabsorbed and the patient is left with a reconstructed, real-feeling breast. Payen explains: “The idea is that the fat cells will use the lace as a support to maintain, multiply, and reform the breast.”
As mentioned, the innovative MAT(T)ISSE project was recently awarded first prize by Théophile-Legrand, a foundation that recognizes textile-based innovations. Paul Schuler, coordinator of the Théophile-Legrand prize, commented on the winning project, saying: “It’s a world first, a revolution.” Indeed, the breakthrough project could offer a safe and effective solution for thousands of women who suffer from breast cancer.
Of course, it might still be a while before anyone can benefit from the new technology, as Payen says the 3D printed resorbable textile bio-prosthesis still has to be refined. He estimates that it could take between five to seven years before MAT(T)ISSE makes it to market.
The innovative MAT(T)ISSE project is being funded in part by the plastic surgery department and tissue bank of the Hospital Center Regional University (CHRU) in Lille, France.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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