Kiwi company using 3D printers to create breasts for women after mastectomies - 'the women have been through enough already'

Source: 1News

3D printers are being used for everything these days, from chocolate to aircraft parts.

Now, there's a 3D printer creating new breasts for women who've undergone mastectomies in a "world-first for New Zealand".

The new prosthetics can create exact replicas of the original, unlike traditional implants.

Seven Sharp reporter Gill Higgins tagged along as primary school teacher Susie Allen undressed for a photoshoot with myReflection's Fay Cobett, the 3D printing company helping her get a new breast.

Ms Cobett's photographs are then used to form an exact 3D image of Ms Allen's chest wall, where the prosthesis will sit, as well as a mirror image of her other breast for size and shape.

Ms Cobett, herself having had a mastectomy, said the 3D prosthetics are "making life better for women who've had breast cancer and who've had a mastectomy and they want to be whole again".

"We're all different – scars, lumps, bumps. We need to capture all those details."

myReflection 3d printing pioneer Jason Barnett said, "A lot of 3D printing is thought of is actually just producing plastic trinkets, but it's a lot more powerful these days, and to be able to use it, a new technology, in such a transformative way to help people is awesome".

The 3D prosthesis can be worn with any bra and replacements are cheap and easy.

myReflection director Tim Carr said, "This is absolutely a world-first for New Zealand.

"I watched [wife] Fay after she lost her breast [and] deal with the generic prosthesis. They don't stay in place and they were heavy and they were expensive."

The 3D ones, Mr Carr says, are better because "it's their shape and their size – it's 1/8th of the weight".

While he wouldn't give away the secret behind the material, Mr Carr said Weta Workshop provided help.

"We can charge thousands of dollars for product that's clearly better, but we really wanted just to make this available for everyone, because the women have been through enough already."