Kinder, gentler breast prosthesis in development

Published in on 03/09/2010.

For the past decade, Dr. Judit E. Puskas, professor of polymer science at The University of Akron, has worked to develop a new and innovative breast prosthesis safer for implant patients than the current silicone variety. With one in eight American women diagnosed with breast cancer each year — 70,000 of whom undergo mastectomies followed by breast reconstruction — Puskas says she felt driven and obligated to use her expertise as a polymer scientist to develop a superior prosthetic breast, one that would not force women back to the operating room for repeat surgeries in years following their initial breast reconstructions. The documented 30 percent failure rate of the mainstay silicone gel implant due to ruptures, leakage and capsular contracture stunned Puskas and provoked her to come up with a solution. Her development — a soft and transparent thermoplastic elastomer breast implant with an antimicrobial coating to prevent infections — has received strong support from the research community in recent months.

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