PolyPrint: Entwicklung polymerer Strukturen mittels 3D Druck zur individuellen Behandlung von Inkontinenz

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    Urinary incontinence (UI) is a worldwide problem. Around 30% of women and 10% of men are affected with increasing
    prevalence at elevated ages. According to Statistik Austria (2016), 5.9% of all Austrians deal with UI. The Österreichische
    Interdisziplinäre Hochaltrigenstudie revealed that more than one third of the persons surveyed suffered from this chronical
    disease. Again, the disease was more pronounced in women than men (i.e., 40.5 vs. 25.4%). Stress incontinence is the most
    common type of UI. It is a result of weakening of the pelvic floor muscles and/or the urethral sphincter and occurs at certain
    activities, such as laughing or coughing. Women are often affected after pregnancy, vaginal birth or during menopause.
    Often, men are concerned after prostatectomy. Depending on the severity of the disease, several treatment options are
    available; i) non-surgical, conservative methods (e.g., pelvic floor exercises), ii) medical treatment, and iii) surgical
    treatment (e.g., implantation of an artificial urethral sphincter, AUS). Additionally, women have the opportunity to use
    pessaries that alter the position of the bladder and/or the urethra. Advantageously, pessaries do not need any surgical
    treatment and can be self-inserted and removed by the patient. However, pessaries are only available in a limited number of
    size and shape. Thus, they are not applicable to every woman depending on the anatomy, the state of health, and patient
    acceptability. The application of such mechanically stabilizing systems might also be possible in male patients. Although a
    surgical management is inevitable, these systems are not associated with drawbacks often observed after AUS implantation
    (i.e., urethral erosion and atrophy). Consequently, there is a need to broaden the complexity of pessaries - which are
    currently very simple systems - to make them available to a larger, inhomogeneous patient group. The manufacturing of
    products with complex structures frequently involves multiple complex processes. 3D printing is a technology that enables
    the specific production of a 3-dimensional structure in a single process step. Moreover, it allows for the fast and efficient
    product adaptation following the individual patients requirements. During this project a commercially available 3D printing
    system is used to manufacture different geometries with the aim to evaluate the systems limitations. In addition to siliastic
    polymers, which are currently the golden standard to fabricate pessaries, various polymeric carrier materials are tested.
    Additionally, several functional additives are incorporated to broaden the spectrum regarding size, shape and mechanical
    characteristics. Importantly, the feasibility to (partially) integrate drugs that were shown to aid UI treatment (e.g., estrogens)
    is investigated. Thereby, these systems do not only provide mechanically stabilizing effects but also provide tailored drug
    release. Based on the gathered knowledge, the 3D printing system is adapted and eventually, a concept of an optimized 3D
    printing system and the corresponding process is elaborated. This builds the basis for the fast and efficient manufacturing of
    innovative pessaries that are adapted to the individual patients needs. These innovative pessaries do not only adapt the
    position of the bladder and/or the urethra, but also provide the possibility of simultaneous medical treatment.
    Effective start/end date1/07/1930/06/22