Could 3D Printing Revolutionize Breast Implants?

Written on May 21, 2016 at 1:09 am

shutterstock_47174143D printing has been getting a lot of media attention for its potentially life-saving uses in the medical industry. And while it’s still fairly new and still being perfected, the potential uses of 3D printing appear to be quite vast. So is it possible that this new technology could also revolutionize breast implants?

How Does It Work?

Although not currently available to the public, researchers believe that using 3D printing to print out silicone implants designed to perfectly fit your body could be the next big step in breast augmentation technology. The process, which is similar to the method used to strengthen rubber tires, would combine 3D printing with the chemical process of vulcanization to achieve a multi-layered, more durable implant.

The Potential Benefits of 3D Printed Implants

By incorporating various levels of hardness and softness into a silicone implant, this innovative process would offer a highly customizable implant, rather than asking women to choose from ready-made uniform sizes. This layered effect could also mean that 3D printed implants would be self-supporting and would thus eliminate “dropping” or “fluffing” as the implant settles into the surrounding natural tissue.

When Might 3D Implants Be a Reality?

Continued development and trials are scheduled to take place mid-2016, and researchers hope to have commercially available 3D printed implants ready by as early as 2017. But for now, 3D imaging to virtually try on breast implants is currently available and can also offer more personalized results that are unique to your specific body type. If you’re considering a breast augmentation, check with your board-certified plastic surgeon to see if his or her practice offers 3D imaging technology.