Research & Publications

3D printing technology applied in complex craniofacial deformity surgery

Mendonca DA, Deraje V, Gujjalanavar R, Gopal S. Case series of three dimensional printing technology in complex craniofacial deformity correction. Journal of Cleft lip, palate and craniofacial anomalies 2016;3 (2): 86-94.

Three-dimensional (3D) printing (additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping) is a technology that has attracted the attention of craniofacial surgeons to gain perfection in analysis, planning and execution of complex surgical challenges. Rapid prototyping technology was introduced to surgery via computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing, which enabled two-dimensional planning. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the application of 3D printing (3DP) technology in craniofacial surgery, with a specific intention of addressing the planning of complex 3D deformities. Materials and Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of our surgical cases where we have used 3DP technology in 10 cases from 2014 to 2016 at a tertiary care hospital in India. 3D models were used in planning the correction of hypertelorism, craniosynostosis - open and endoscopic techniques, hemifacial microsomia, skull bone defects, and secondary orbital floor defects. The process of preparing a 3DP implant from a locally based company to suit the economic constraints of the patient has also been addressed in this article. Results: Each of the 10 patients are discussed, where this technology was used for planning, execution and training in craniofacial surgery. With the experience gained through these cases, the authors discuss the advantages of using 3DP technology in assessment of the true defect, accurate planning of the procedure, performance of model surgery, patient education, resident training, preparation of custom made implants, and more importantly providing all of these in an economical price using a locally based company for production of 3D models. Conclusion: 3DP models will revolutionize the way plastic and craniofacial surgeons think and plan surgical simulation. The authors recommend a wider application of such a technology to orthognathic surgery and any surgery that requires bony osteotomies with movement.

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