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Digital tool gives surgeons a pre-theatre rehearsal

Digital tool gives surgeons a pre-theatre rehearsal

Surgical planning tool designed by Engineering PhD student advances the efficacy of next generation 3D-printed bone implants.

Jawbone reconstruction – or orthognathic surgery – is a complicated medical procedure whereby a person's jaw is treated for significant trauma, such as from a car crash or gunshot wound, or diseases like oral cancer.

Jaw reconstruction surgery involves replacing damaged or diseased bone tissue with an implant, typically a titanium plate or prosthesis, with patient recovery taking as long as twelve weeks. Complications like implant failure and infections are common, potentially requiring repeat surgery which can place significant burden on a patient.

In recent years, biomedical engineers have developed a new generation of medical implants designed to not only substitute bone, but to help regenerate tissue back to its original state using 3D-printed tissue scaffold-fixation systems. These devices enhance the innate healing potential of human tissue, using a scaffold as a temporary support structure for the surrounding cells to attach to and grow. Eventually, the scaffold is expected to dissolve into the blood stream, leaving new tissue in its place.

Ben Ferguson, a PhD student in the University of Sydney’s School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, is developing a surgical planning tool to assist surgeons in planning complex jawbone reconstruction procedures using these new generation devices. ...

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