Conducting Safer Facial Reconstruction Surgeries with 3D Printing

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Conducting Safer Facial Reconstruction Surgeries with 3D Printing

Doctors at the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Ward of Clinical University Hospital in Olsztyn, Poland, work with full-scale models of patients’s skulls 3D printed on the Zortrax M200 with Z-ABS filament.

Based on CT scans, those models help in shaping personalized implants prior to surgery. Only in the 2015-2017 period, the ward admitted approximately 300 patients. 55% of them suffered from orbital traumas and over 80% of those cases required orbital floor reconstruction. 3D printing can make their treatment more effective and safer.

Clinical Uni
Anna Dudzińska-Filkiewicz MD and Borys Hołub with 3D printed skull models. ©Zortrax

3D printed organ and bone models based on MRI or CT scans help to prepare implants prior to surgeries and precisely assess their placement. Thanks to Zortrax 3D printers, creating those highly personalized models became possible and economically feasible. They are invaluable during surgical planning, as flat images are often insufficient, especially in the cases of bone structure damaged by traffic accidents or oncological procedures.

The Process

The first stage of preoperative preparations is to create a 3D model of patient’s skull. Digital model can be effortlessly edited. Using modeling software, the specialists prepare the mirror image of healthy area and replaces the afflicted one.

Digital model of the patient's skull. Orange: pathological change, green: mirrored part.

The 3D printed skull model was used for implant shaping, so structural strength was the number one priority. Noteworthy, 3D printing was done entirely by a medicine student with no previous experience with it.

The Outcome

By using the implant individually prepared before the procedure, specialists managed to reduce tissue trauma. Based on precise 3D printed model, the implant can be fitted considerably quicker. There’s no need of repeated on-site bending, maneuvering and testing. All of this results in better visual effect and shorter time needed to finish the surgery.

titanium implant
Pre-bent titanium implant

Shorter surgery means shorter convalesce period and reduced risk of infection. Furthermore, it results in smaller dosage of anesthetics which positively impacts patient’s liver and kidneys.

With 3D printing at hand, specialists are empowered with reliable method of medical model making. Precision and speed are incomparable with past methods like plaster casting or costly mechanical milling. Thus, 3D printing is prevailing technology in the fields of medicine like dentistry and orthodontics.

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