Studying Rapid Prototyping in Craniofacial Reconstruction
November 8, 2010
School of Dentistry, Kochi
Dr. Resma Mohan, MDS scholar in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Amrita’s School of Dentistry recently won the best paper award at the 6th Annual Conference of the Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons of India (Kerala Chapter).
Dr. Resma’s presentation titled Rapid Prototyping in Craniofacial Reconstruction focused on the role of prototyping techniques for surgeries involving the head and face.
Rapid prototyping is the automatic construction of physical objects using additive manufacturing technology. “The technique is widely used in craniofacial reconstruction,” she stated.
The technique involves taking virtual designs from computer-aided design or animation modelling software, and transforming those into thin, virtual, horizontal cross sections. Successive layers are created until the model is complete.
“Patients who are operated upon due to tumors of the head and neck, congenital and acquired anomalies may acquire certain defects,” explained Dr. Resma. “Most wish to have these defects corrected in an aesthetic manner. The rapid prototyping technique can be used to model these defect areas virtually.”
Anatomical three-dimensional models can be made, both virtually and physically. With these models, a maxillofacial surgeon can easily study and understand anatomic details to plan the surgery thoroughly. This process greatly enhances chances for the successful outcome of the procedure.
“In Amrita, we are using this technique successfully since 2003,” informed Dr. Resma.
“In 2006, we successfully covered a fronto-temporal defect in a 23-year-old patient who was operated for extradural hemorrhage in the frontotemporal region of the skull,” she stated, elaborating on a case study used in her paper.
The technique also reduces the surgery time and morbidity. It allows for better training of the residents. The models can also be used for patient education.
Widely used earlier in engineering technology, these models are now beginning to revolutionize the planning and execution of complex craniofacial procedures.
We congratulate Dr. Resma on her achievement and wish her the very best.