Design and fabrication of a new implantable piezoelectric micropump for the treatment and management of lymphedema

01 January 2019 → 31 May 2023
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Immunology
    • Medical imaging and therapy
    • Immunology
    • Medical imaging and therapy
    • Other paramedical sciences
    • Immunology
    • Medical imaging and therapy
piezoelectric micropump lymphedema tissue engineering
Project description

In the human body, the lymphatic system plays a crucial role in the immune system and the transport of fluid from within tissues (the interstitial space) back into the venous circulation. Failure of this system leads to lymphedema, causing a.o. swelling of tissues. Lymphedema is a very common complication of cancer treatment, and there is no cure. Therefore, in this project, we want to design and fabricate a novel implantable micropump for the treatment of lymphedema and restoration of the normal fluid balance in the limbs affected by lymphedema. The pump will work as an artificial bypass of the lymphedema region in order to drain the excess of interstitial fluid. The micropump will be manufactured in durable biocompatible polymeric materials and microvalves which ensure flow in a one-way direction. Compared to commercially available devices (used as treatment for ascites or as drug delivery systems), the micropump will use polymeric materials instead of ceramic ones and will work with a battery-less configuration, where energy will be transmitted from outside the body via an inductive coil for intermittent pumping. This design guarantees an improvement in the life time of the device and also limits the size, such that it can be implanted just below the skin. In the final configuration, the device will be composed of several pumping chambers and inlet/outlet ports connectable to silicon conduit microtubes in order to treat a wide range of severities and extents of lymphedema.