German biotech startup BellaSeno, which is seeking to develop a more natural and safer alternative to silicone breast implants, has chosen Onshape’s modern cloud CAD system to design the external structures of its 3D-printed implants. BellaSeno researchers are using Polycaprolactone (PCL), a biocompatible and bioresorbable polymer that is already used in FDA-approved and CE-marked products for other medical procedures. Both animal and human clinical trials are scheduled for 2019.

BellaSeno’s aim is to create implants that support the growth of natural breast tissue and are safely absorbed into the body, unlike silicone implants which are prone to rupture and can require replacement. The 3D-printed implants would be available for breast reconstruction after a mastectomy or for elective plastic surgery for breast enhancement.

BellaSeno designs the external structure of its 3D-printed breast implants in Onshape, the leading 3D cloud CAD system that combines advanced 3D modeling tools with built-in data management.

“We’re developing more than 150 different sizes and profiles to choose from that fit every possible body type,” says biomedical engineer Sara Lucarotti, Head of Design for BellaSeno. “Using Onshape’s configurations feature, I was able to plug in all the measurements and automatically generate 150 CAD models in less than an hour. It’s a beautiful feature.”

“From a purely engineering perspective, the breast has a relatively simple structure. It’s not complicated like modeling a car or machine. Onshape eliminates repetitive design tasks and frees up time for me to focus on other priorities,” she adds.

Onshape’s Modern Approach to Configurations

Onshape’s modern approach to parametric modeling simplifies traditional CAD configuration tables, which sometimes can contain thousands of rows covering each conceivable permutation. In contrast, Onshape lets engineers build complex families of parts by creating separate small tables for each set of independent configuration options. This dramatically reduces the number of required rows and cells – eliminating monster-sized tables that are difficult to understand, troubleshoot or manage.

The video below offers a quick overview of Onshape Configurations:

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Lucarotti adds that she also values Onshape’s universal access on any computer, tablet or phone, versus other CAD systems restricting her to one specific computer tied to a CAD license.

“When we were first choosing a CAD system for our startup, I liked the idea that I could work online from anywhere because I travel a lot,” she says. “Once we tried Onshape, it felt natural to just keep on using it. I had a strong biomedical engineering background, but was relatively new to CAD. Onshape has a very quick learning curve.”

BellaSeno’s 3D-printed breast implants use a biocompatible and bioresorbable polymer that is already used in FDA-approved and CE-marked products for other medical procedures.

BellaSeno implants are a product of more than 10 years of rigorous product development and preclinical studies. The BellaSeno leadership team includes experts from diverse fields ranging from biomedical engineering, additive manufacturing, plastic surgery, medical imaging and polymer development.