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Accuracy of Virtual Reality and Stereolithographic Models in Maxillo-Facial Surgical Planning

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Abstract

Computed tomography is a medical instrument that can be useful not only for diagnostic purposes, but also for surgical planning, thanks to the fact that it offers volumetric information which can be translated in three dimensional models. These models can be visualized, but also exported to Rapid Prototyping (RP) systems, that can produce these structures thanks to the rapidity and versatility of the technologies involved. The literature reports various cases of stereolithographic models used in orthopedic, neurological, and maxillo-facial surgery. In these contexts, the availability of a copy of the real anatomy allows not only planning, but also the practical execution of surgical operations, within the limitations of the materials. Nevertheless, the Rapid Prototyping model also presents some disadvantages that can be reduced if practical simulation is accompanied by virtual simulation, performed on a digital model. The purpose of this work is to examine and present the use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Rapid Prototyping for surgical planning in Maxillo-Facial surgery.

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