3D Printing and the Future of Breast Reconstruction
By: Courtney Floyd
How is 3D printing being used in breast reconstruction?
Many news outlets have reported recently on new research being performed just up the road in Austin, TX. A company called TeVido is conducting research and experimenting with different 3D printing technologies and harvested human cells to create real nipples for breast reconstruction patients.
Crazy cool right?!? For some added input, I reached out to a couple of the PRMA surgeons to get their thoughts on this new technology.
“3D printing is an emerging technology with tremendous potential. However, this technology is still in its infancy and its applications within the medical field requires compliance with the same rigorous standards as with any other pharmaceutical or medical device before they are adopted. The current practice of nipple reconstruction using the patient's own skin is a minimally invasive as well as a tried-and-true method used for many years with high patient satisfaction. In addition, being considered as a broadly accepted and integral component of breast reconstruction, the current methods of nipple reconstruction are covered by insurance whereas experimental methods such as 3D-printed nipples, most likely, are not,” said Dr. Ochoa.
Dr. Arishita added, “Wow, this is a very exciting but a complicated, high tech way of treating a common problem. Women should also know that in some situations, their nipples can be preserved. Patients should ask their surgeon about nipple sparing surgery.”
With the many options available today and the always progressing technologies, women have access to advance breast and nipple reconstruction options after cancer.
Although this innovative nipple creation technique is in the beginning stages, clinical trials could start in as little as two years. What are your thoughts?