The effects of breast cancer can be devastating for women. Reconstruction is often performed after mastectomies, but getting back to a realistic shape can be tricky since each woman's anatomy and size are different. New technology being engineered at the Queensland Institute of Technology uses 3D printing technology to achieve this. Using a material that is similar to human tissue, scaffolding is built that can be implanted in the chest.
This scaffolding is designed and created based on each patient's unique body size. The patient's tissue then grows around the material. Unlike implants, which are always the same size, the scaffolding material melds with the body's tissue so if a woman loses or gains weight, the tissue also responds and the reconstruction continues to look at natural as possible. The technology has been in the works for six years at the QIT and along with other advances in targeted chemotherapy are giving breast cancer survivors new hope.