Scientists have started using computed tomography (CT) and 3D printing technology to help them in face transplantation surgeries. Physicians at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston performed the country’s first full-face transplantation in 2011 and have subsequently completed four additional face transplants. The procedure is performed on patients who have lost some or all of their face as a result of injury or disease. Also Read - Poco X3 GT will get 67W fast charging similar to the F3 GT in India
In the study, a research team led by Frank J. Rybicki, M.D., and Amir Imanzadeh, M.D., research fellow, assessed the clinical impact of using 3-D printed models of the recipient’s head in the planning of face transplantation surgery. Also Read - MIUI 13 to add 3GB of RAM to any Xiaomi phone with its memory expansion feature
Each of the transplant recipients underwent preoperative CT with 3D visualization. To build each life-size skull model, the CT images of the transplant recipient’s head were segmented and processed using customized software, creating specialized data files that were input into a 3D printer. Also Read - iPhone 13 to come with faster charging as compared to iPhone 12
Although the entire transplant procedure lasts as long as 25 hours, the actual vascular connections from the donor face to the recipient typically takes approximately one hour, during which time the patient’s blood flow must be stopped.
Dr. Rybicki said that if there were absent or missing bony structures needed for reconstruction, they could make modifications based on the 3D printed model prior to the actual transplantation, instead of taking the time to do alterations during ischemia time. The 3D model was important for making the transplant cosmetic ally appealing.
The researchers said they also used the models in the operating room to increase the surgeons’ understanding of the anatomy of the recipient’s face during the procedure. Senior surgeons and radiologists involved in the five face transplantations agreed that the 3D printed models provided superior pre-operative data and allowed complex anatomy and bony defects to be better appreciated, reducing total procedure time.
Based on the results of this study, 3D printing has now routinely been used for surgical planning for face transplantation procedures at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and 3D printed models may be implemented in other complex surgeries.
The study was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).