Individualized Biomaterials for Treating Gynecological Prolapses and Hernias

A new project to develop a gynecological prolapse mesh is being launched by Aalto University. Annually, around 700,000 pelvic floor operations are carried out in the Western world, with about 400,000 of these happening in Europe.

Image Credit: Aalto University

Nearly one-fifth of women experience prolapses, or gynecological hernias, at some point in their lives. Patients are typically older women who have given birth more than once. The invention can considerably enhance the quality of life and health of the patient.

As part of the surgery, a mesh developed from polypropylene plastic is used to lift the descending organ to its former position. Currently, available plastic materials cause a number of problems in the body, and many of the products have been removed from the market. Plastic can bring about reactions such as inflammation and sexual health issues.

There is a similar need for a new mesh in connection with hernia surgery and the treatment of urinary incontinence, and the new invention can also be used for these. We hope to develop the technology further to provide individual customization in which treatment can be planned for specific patients.

Jani Kuula, Project Lead Researcher, Aalto University

In personalized treatment, the condition of the patient’s own tissues is taken into account and a customized prolapse mesh can be created.

Biomaterials have significant potential as implants. The benefits of biomaterials are a resemblance to the cells in the body, non-toxicity, and easy processing of the material. The new material enables realizing durability that is five times that of the patient’s own tissue.

The research is being conducted by members of Professor Orlando Rojas research group. The group includes top-notch expertise in the development and production of biomaterials. The project will improve knowledge about using biomaterials in medical applications.

The project stemmed from observations made during the immersion phase of the Biodesign Finland project at the HUS Women’s Hospital in 2019. The group includes medical applications experts Jani Kuula and Eija Raussi-Lehto from the Biodesign Finland project, and biomaterials specialists Rubina Ajdary and Nazanin Ezazi from Orlando Rojas’ group.

The project will start in February 2020. The project’s overall budget is EUR 600,000 and its duration will be 1.5 years. The project is supported by Business Finland.


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