Assessment of a Novel Computer Algorithm for Printing a 3-Dimensional Nasal Prosthetic

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Abstract

Importance

The introduction and evaluation of a novel technique to create nasal prostheses with 3-dimensional (3-D) imaging software may circumvent the need for an anaplastologist.

Objectives

To describe a novel computer algorithm for the creation of a 3-D model of a nose and to evaluate the similarity of appearance of the nasal prosthesis with that of the individual’s nose.

Design, Setting, and Participants

A prospective pilot study with a cross-sectional survey was conducted from August 1 to October 31, 2016, at a tertiary care academic center. Five volunteers were used for creation of the nasal prostheses, and 36 survey respondents with a medical background were involved in evaluating the nasal prostheses.

Exposures

A computer algorithm using a 3-D animation software (Blender; Blender Foundation) and Adobe Photoshop CS6 (Adobe Systems) were used to create a 3-D model of a nose. Photographs of 5 volunteers were processed with the computer algorithm. The model was then printed using a desktop 3-D printer. Attending physicians, residents, and medical students completed a survey and were asked to rate the similarity between the individuals’ photographs and their 3-D printed nose on a Likert-type scale.

Main Outcomes and Measures

The similarity between 3-D printed nasal models and photographs of the volunteers’ noses based on survey data.

Results

Thirty-six survey respondents evaluated 4 views for each of the 5 modeled noses (from 4 women and 1 man; mean [SD] age, 26.6 [5.7] years). The mean (SD) score for the overall similarity between the photographs and the 3-D models was 8.42 (1.34). The mean scores for each nasal comparison ranged from 7.97 to 8.62. According to the survey, respondents were able to match the correct 3-D nose to the corresponding volunteers’ photographs in 171 of 175 photographs (97.7%). All surveyed clinicians indicated that they would consider using this tool to create a temporary prosthesis instead of referring to a prosthodontist.

Conclusions and Relevance

This algorithm can be used to model and print a 3-D prosthesis of a human nose. The printed models closely depicted the photographs of each volunteer’s nose and can potentially be used to create a temporary prosthesis to fill external nasal defects. The appropriate clinical application of this technique is yet to be determined.

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