French researchers have won a prize for their innovative use of 3D printing to create a breast implant for cancer reconstruction surgery.

The project, coined Mat(t)isse, was carried out by Julien Payen and Pierre-Marie Danze PhD Life and Health Sciences at Lille 1 University, with funding from the Hospital Center Regional University De Lille (CHRU). For this, the duo were awarded the Théophile Legrand Textile Innovation prize on the 16th March.

The Mat(t)isse project involved 3D printing an absorbable shell-like structure that can safely contain injected fatty tissues. The process is essentially a combination of the two current reconstruction techniques of lipofilling and silicon implantation. Mat(t)isse has the potential to provide a more natural end result and mitigate current methods which can be both costly and dangerous for the patient.