Tag Archives: breast reconstruction

Need A New Breast? Sure, Let Me Just Print One For You!

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net / Stuart Miles

Creating Body Parts With 3D Printers

Last week I was listening to a news report about 3D printers and how scientists are working towards creating body parts using a new science called biofabrication.  A scientist was holding up a model of a woman’s breast and they were describing how this new science worked.  

This is the next frontier – 3D printing, a very exciting technology with so much potential.  For breast cancer patients, the hope is that within the next 3 years, science will be able to create a new breast from a patient’s own cells.

No More “Flap” Surgeries Or Silicone Implants

Imagine this,  no more rearranging the muscles from our bodies – muscles that we need and want – to rebuild our breasts, and no more silicone implants!  Personally – speaking as a bodyworker – I feel that when they use muscles to rebuild a breast, it creates all sorts of imbalances in the body, I know that has certainly been the case for me.  Using this new biofabrication technology, your new breast will be made using your own cells!

How The Process Works

As far as I understand it, rather than using rearranged muscles or a silicone implant, an MRI or a laser scan of the patient’s healthy breast would be used to design what is called a breast scaffold.  You can see what the scaffold might look like in this article from the Brisbane Times.

The tissue is created by using modified printer cartridges and cells extracted from the patient, either from biopsies or stem cells.  Then the tissue is grown using already existing techniques – it is cultured in a growth medium and allowed to multiply.  Once the required amount of cells have grown, they are collected and formed into the desired shape and loaded into a cartridge to create what is called BioInk.  The BioInk is loaded into a bioprinter along with a cartridge of hydrogel, which is a water-based matrix used as scaffolding for creating layers of cells.  The printer prints a layer of the hydrogel, followed by a layer of BioInk cells, and so on. The layered calls naturally fuse together to create a scaffold.

Check out this quick YouTube video created by UMC Utrecht (one of the universities mentioned below) that shows how the process can be used to create osteochondral material in bone.  This will give you a better idea of how it works.

Just think – some of your healthy cells could be harvested, grown in a dish, the scaffold created, and in one single operation, your surgeon would implant the scaffold into your body, and *voila* you have a new breast.  From what I understand, in 2-3 years, the original scaffold will have degraded and disappeared.

Fascinating!

This technology is already moving along at a rapid pace – I read about a 2-year-old child in the USA who was born without a trachea and received one built with her own stem cells, this occurred last year (see link to story below). 

University Courses

An international masters degree in biofabrication is already going to be jointly offered by the Queensland University of Technology, the University of Wollongong, the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands and the University of Würzburg in Germany, the first of its kind.  Australian students would spend 12 months at one of the European universities and European students would spend 12 months at one of the Australian universities. 

Ethical Concerns

Of course, there are ethical concerns that this kind of technology will allow us to “play God” as never before, which makes a lot of people very uncomfortable.  There has already been an exposé on 60 Minutes about guns that have been created using 3D printers.  That one really made me nervous.  It will need to be well-regulated, no doubt.  But the applications for biofabrication are seemingly endless – new breasts, new bones, organ transplants.  18 people in the USA die every day while waiting in vain for transplants.  We could save some lives in a big way.  And get new breasts, with our own cells.  🙂

References

Brisbane Times article: 3D Printing Pushes Medical Boundaries

UK Telegraph: The Next Step: 3D Printing The Human Body

CNN: Toddler Gets New Windpipe From Her Own Stem Cells

CNN: The Next Frontier in 3-D Printing: Human Organs

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

Reduce Surgical Adhesions After Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Reduce Surgical Adhesions After Breast Reconstruction Surgery

I had breast cancer in 2004, and I chose to have the latissimus dorsi flap breast reconstruction surgery following upon my lumpectomy surgery because my surgeon found it necessary to remove quite a large chunk of my breast.  I am also a massage therapist and I have a great massage technique that will reduce surgical adhesions after breast reconstruction surgery, and I’m excited to be sharing that technique with you today.

I began having some issues with tightness and soreness around the scar and, knowing that adhesions might be forming at the surgical site, I had my own massage therapist perform this massage technique on me.  I found it to be absolutely crucial to my ability to move without pain and to reduce post-surgical adhesions, so I shot this video today to help you (with the help of my friend, Robin, who is the person on the massage table – thanks Robin!).

If you can get your massage therapist (or even your partner or willing friend) to watch the video and learn how to do it, you will feel so much better for it.

I didn’t mention it in the video, but I only use therapeutic grade essential oils to do this procedure. They are much more effective and potent than the oils you can buy in the health food store.  You can get them from me and if you’d like more information about the oils, just contact me.

If you would like to receive my best tips on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.