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Product development call from design and innovation research centre

The National Centre for Product Design and Development Research (PDR), a  long standing design, research and innovation consultancy is calling for more companies to come forward to develop their individualised medical products after successful advancements have been made with a breast prostheses project.

The project, which will provide patients with more realistic and better fitting breast prostheses, has been developed by the Patient-Specific Medical Design Centre, in collaboration with clinicians at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, who identified the need.

The technique produces breast patterns and tools which in turn produce a silicon breast prosthesis bespoke to each patient through the use of advanced digital design and manufacturing processes.

Prostheses are based on the remaining breast shape where possible and help patients maintain a natural posture by restoring the missing breast weight, whilst providing a more secure fit. It is hoped that the technique being developed will help prevent post mastectomy posture problems and, crucially, increase the confidence and quality of life of the patient.

The Patient-Specific Medical Design Centre is a unique knowledge transfer centre that helps organisations develop a competitive advantage through the introduction of services and products which are tailored to individual patient needs.

Through a combination of design, advanced manufacturing technologies and clinical knowledge, the centre provides a key link between medical practice and business.

The partnership combines the medical and technical expertise of the National Centre for Product Design and Development Research (PDR) at Cardiff Metropolitan University and clinical partnerships such as the Centre for Applied Reconstructive Technologies in Surgery (CARTIS).

Over the last 17 years, PDR has been using a unique approach to help large and small companies from around the world to discover, design and develop successful products and services – and is now calling for more companies to come forwards with their ideas for individualised medical products.

Dr Peter Dorrington, Industry Lead at the Patient-Specific Design Centre, said: “This project demonstrates the benefits of combining PDR’s patient-specific product design and development technologies and expertise with the unmet needs of clinicians such as – in this case – the breast care team, and maxillofacial prosthetists, which have led to this revolutionary new technique.

“The technology provides patients with a bespoke breast prosthesis, rather than having an off-the-shelf product. This could prove hugely important to post-mastectomy patients, particularly in terms of their overall well-being and confidence levels, which is a vital element of the recovery process.

“This technique has also illustrated how computer-aided methods are able to offer a cost-effective alternative to the traditional labour-intensive techniques, by reducing the length of patient consultations, and number of patient visits, while also providing a more flexible and repeatable method of working.

“Such is the success of this project, and others we are currently working on, we’re now very keen to talk to other companies who are looking for assistance in developing their medical products. This could include anything from custom-fitting prostheses, through to rehabilitation aids and contoured seating.”

If you would like to discuss your product ideas with the Patient-Specific Medical Design Centre, please contact Dr Peter Dorrington on 02920 417233, or pdorrington@pdronline.co.uk.