Expert's Opinion

What diaper R&D should really focus on

By Giulio D'Inca , Urologist Ospedale Belluno | August 11, 2011

Urologist Giulio D'Inca says a new vacuum technology can improve the quality of life for those with incontinence.

We all have seen the TV commercials. Diaper manufacturers want to convince you that it is socially acceptable to wear a diaper, even when you are an active adult. They are spending a fortune on advertisements to try to achieve this weird objective. And nothing could be farther from the truth.

The minimally invasive surgical techniques, the pharmacological advances in treating an overactive bladder, and the correct diffusion of information should decrease the use of diapers in most active adults. In the future, this will happen because they will find better solutions for the management of their incontinence. Only those who do not have alternatives, such as bedridden (for various reasons), or those who are in wheelchairs or hospitalized in intensive care or otherwise, will be the only ones forced to use the diaper. They are already the main customers of diapers today, and will continue to be with the increasing age. What it is strange is that they are seldom used as the reference model for the typical examples of people requiring the use of a diaper. Maybe it is less apealing to watch, but this is in fact the correct audience for all those commercials.

Diaper producers, take a tour at the hospital wards or at nursing homes for the elderly. There seems to be room for you to learn. Think about the general health of those who carry a diaper and ask yourself: Why do they wear it? Soon you will conclude that, in most cases, these are people with health conditions that make it difficult to move, and that their so-called “incontinence” is derived from this situation.

"Pee in the diaper...later I can change you once I find the time!" This seems to be the only answer to those who need to ask for help, and be accompanied to the toilet. This is not from the lack of the good will of the operators, the nurses or the family members, but it is also impossible or at least impractical to answer hundreds of such requests.

R&D should really be focusing on these types of people, and these are some of the key reasons:

1) It is ethical – improving the quality of life of people suffering, instead of treating them like a baby;

2) It is ecological – for the use of smaller amounts of resources and the reduction of pollutants;

3) It is economical – benefits for consumers, tax payers and last but not least, with good profits for the manufacturers and their employees.

We would be pleased to know that great minds in R&D centers are concentrated in solving these important problems and not in making us believe that a simple addition of aloe or some other additive or scented essence, or the modification of some details in the fastening system of the diaper can bring significant benefits to this type of patient. This is a waste of creativity for those great minds.

It is time to change your vision of the problem:
  • Only with the complete removal of urine from the diaper there may be substantial skin and quality of life benefits in all bedridden and wheelchair patients.
  • The savings on medicines to treat skin infection related illness could easily outweight even the cost of the disposables used in many patients.
  • We must all understand that there are different types of incontinence, not one.
  • We need a system that can fit perfectly to the problem of each individual user.
The team to which I belong has developed a system composed of simple elements. Using vacuum technology and capillarity, the sytem is able to almost completely remove the urine from diapers and store it in an external vacuum container, perfectly sealed and reusable. The container is easy to clean and the whole system has much lower cost than conventional disposable alternatives. The invention is called Vacuum Dry Diaper (VDD), and it is a newly patented diaper technology now available for commercial licensing or for the regional transfer of full ownership.

VDD is a device for adult urinary incontinence, and is based on the use and fine twining of physical principles like capillarity, vacuum, magnetism, solubility and elastic forces, in order to manage perfectly to the different types of incontinence.

VDD is composed, basically, of a disposable diaper, a “suction point” fitted inside the diaper – strictly connected within the cellulose padding (reusable); and a thin catheter that connects the suction point with an external vacuum generator (the catheter connects to the product, not to the patient).

It uses only simple components (no batteries, no sensors, or motors are required). It works by transferring urine from adult incontinence diapers into an external sealed vacuum container (near the bed or the wheelchair); but it can also connect itself to hospital`s vacuum system if desired. It uses only simple components, and works without SAP (no need for superabsorbent polymer at all).

VDD technology keeps skin dry for longer, with an unlimited capacity, and can improve quality of life for those with incontinence.

For more information on the Vacuum Dry Diaper, visit

Giulio D'Inca is a urologist Ospedale Belluno in Italy, with a special focus on incontinence, prostate cancer and urinary stones. He can be reached at

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