Printing 3-D Breast Tissue

Printing 3-D Breast Tissue

January 20, 2014
Ned Snyder IV, MD

3-D printing is taking over the tech world by giving producers, and consumers, a way to print whatever 3-D object they want with plastic. Toys, plastic machine parts, and even guns have been printed by users, who upload their plans and models onto the Internet for others to use. Researchers are taking the gains of these printers and utilizing them for even grandeur, more complex applications.

Printing Living Cells for Breast Reconstruction

One such research outfit, TeVido BioDevices in Austin, Texas, have utilized 3-D printing to print living cells out of tissue. Dr. Ned Snyder IV, a board certified plastic surgeon in Austin who specializes in breast reconstruction, sat down with The Plastic Surgery Channel to discuss the promising research and how it could be a game-changer in his specialized field of breast reconstruction.

By: Ned Snyder IV, MD
and Adam McMillon
ThePlasticSurgeryChannel.com

3dprtiner

With over 200,000 women diagnosed annually in the U.S. with breast cancer, 60 percent choose lumpectomies to remove cancerous tissue. The procedure leaves the natural breast abnormally shaped, a problem that Dr. Snyder routinely addresses in the operating room. By utilizing liposuction to remove fat from elsewhere on the body, Snyder preps the removed fat and places it into the areas where tissue has been removed during the lumpectomy. “While the process works, there is a limit to how much we can put in at a time, and often two to three procedures are required to get it right,” says Snyder. “If we had a way to produce enough tissue to replace the space in one surgery, outcomes and results would drastically improve.”

In comes TeVido’s 3-D printed cells. By taking a sample of a patient’s own tissue, the company is able to use their specially designed printer to literally print out fat cells that surgeons can use to replace removed tissue during lumpectomies. Instead of removing fat from the patient, processing it and reinserting, surgeons would have printed tissue ready to go before the surgery so that it could be done in a single operation. “The lumpectomy operation is already an outpatient procedure where the patient is ready to go home afterwards,” says Snyder. “With the printed tissue, we could operate so that a patient’s tissue is removed, the 3-D printed tissue is grafted in its place, and the patient leaves nearly, if not exactly, the way that they entered, that same day. No more procedures required.

Printed Tissues, “A Game Changer” for Surgeons and Patients

In addition, the sampled tissue has been used to print 3-D areola and nipple complexes, an area of the breast that is often removed during mastectomies to treat breast cancer. “The idea that I could have a 3-D printed areola and nipple ready to go in the OR after performing a mastectomy would be a game-changer,” says Snyder. “Early results from the printing show that the printed tissues are nearly identical to the tissue removed, and are made completely of the patient’s own tissue. They resemble a skin graft, and would be implanted as such.”

While the technology looks very promising, years and research dollars remain before it is ready for the OR. “I greatly look forward to being able to use it, and I’m confident it’ll be in my hands in the next few years,” says Snyder. “Especially the areola and nipple complex. For women who have to undergo breast cancer and surgical treatment, the ease at which this technology could quicken their recovery would truly be both a physical and psychological benefit.”

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in

Sasline vs. silicone - saline before and afters.

Breaking Down the Saline vs. Silicone Debate

Katherine StuartApril 24, 2018
Older Patients and their Desires for Plastic Surgery

Older Patients and Their Desires for Plastic Surgery

Jason Cooper, MDApril 23, 2018
3 tips to great results with facial fillers.

3 Tips to Great Results with Facial Fillers

Anne MeyerApril 20, 2018

Video – Why You Need It and The Plastic Surgery Channel!

Terrye TebbettsApril 20, 2018
Is Virtual Reality the Future of Consultations?

Is Virtual Reality the Future of Consultations?

John Diaz, MDApril 20, 2018
The rise of the athletic figure in body contouring.

The Rise of the Athletic Figure in Body Contouring

Anne MeyerApril 19, 2018
4 components to successful breast augmentation.

4 Components of Successful Breast Augmentation

Katherine StuartApril 18, 2018

PSC Deep Dive – Breast Implant-Associated ALCL

Caroline Glicksman, MDApril 18, 2018
Avoiding the "Too Big" Boob Job.

Avoiding the “Too Big” Boob Job

Anne MeyerApril 17, 2018