(RxWiki News) Computer-aided design, or what's commonly known as CAD, has been used for years to help design everything from cars to bridges. Now the technology is helping to accurately restore a woman's bust line following breast cancer.
Researchers have successfully used CAD to create molds of a woman's breast(s) to help surgeons perform better breast reconstructive surgery.
This technology could also be used with a new frontier in medicine - tissue engineering - which would grow a patient's own cells, instead of using tissue transferred from other parts of the body.
"Ask if your surgeon can use CAD for breast reconstruction."
Researchers used 3D laser scanning on healthy breast tissue of three women patients who were undergoing breast reconstructive surgery following mastectomies.
The images were then fed into CAD software that created an image of the patient's breast and thorax.
This image was then turned into a 3D model that surgeons used to perform the reconstruction surgery.
Patients and surgeons were pleased with the results. The shape and symmetry of the reconstructed breasts were better than what's usually seen in conventional surgeries.
Study co-author, Professor Dietmar Hutmacher, says this research is the first step in developing material that could one day be used in tissue engineering.
This research appears in the September 8, 2011 issue of IOP Publishing's journal Biofabrication.