A student in Chemical Engineering of the University Center of Exact Sciences and Engineering (CUCEI), of the University of Guadalajara (UdeG), devised a personalized breast prosthesis for women who had a mastectomy due to breast cancer.
This prosthesis, made by student Erik Adrián Muñoz Arellano, is made of a type of polyurethane with molecular memory that returns to its original form after suffering any deformation. In addition, the polymer can be melted and shaped into new forms, which makes it recyclable and not harmful to the environment. The material withstands the adversities to which the prosthesis could be subjected, such as exposure to women’s sweat or to chlorinated or salt water, unlike others in the market.
According to Muñoz Arellano, the project arose from complaints of several women on the prostheses they have to use. Women using breast prosthesis report the following problems: the prostheses deform, they are not symmetrical, there are not many measures, they are very heavy or very light, they are not suitable to submerge into the water, some cause irritation due to lack of ventilation.
“What we seek with the customization of the prosthesis is that it is identical to the breast and with the same weight, so that there is no decompensation that can injure the back.”
Thus, in the first instance, through a three-dimensional scanner, a model of the woman’s thorax is taken, which includes the healthy breast and the space from which the cancerous tissue has been removed. Based on the measures taken and the weight and form of the healthy breast, the design is made with a special piece of software; and finally, the prosthesis is printed in 3D and lined considering the tastes of each woman.
It should be noted that prostheses on the market are made of silicones that are too dense, that give the breast adequate volume but with excessive weight. This causes a decompensation, causing the spine to bend in order to recover its stability, which in turn can cause hip, spine and knee malformations.
More than 300 tests have been performed on women to refine product details. Its useful life is five years, and it can cost from 2,500 to 3,500 pesos. Silicone, in comparison, can last a year or a year and a half, and have a cost between 3,500 and 15,000 pesos.
Source: La Jornada