Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing in Craniosynostosis Surgery

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Abstract

Background

Considerable operative time is expended during the planning, shaping, and reconfiguring of the cranial vault in the pursuit of symmetry during open craniosynostosis surgery. Computer-aided design and manufacturing has recently been implemented in orthognathic surgery and complex craniomaxillofacial reconstruction as a means of optimizing operative accuracy and efficiency. In this report, we highlight our growing experience with this promising modality for the preoperative planning and intraoperative execution of cranial vault remodeling in patients with both simple and complex forms of craniosynostosis.

Methods

Computer-assisted surgical planning begins with acquisition of high-resolution computed tomography scans of the craniofacial skeleton. An Internet-based teleconference is then held between the craniofacial and biomedical engineering teams and provides a forum for virtual manipulation of the patient’s preoperative three-dimensional computed tomography with real-time changes and feedback. Through virtual surgical planning, osteotomies are designed and calvarial bones reconfigured to achieve the desired cranial vault appearance. Cutting and positioning guides are manufactured to transform the virtual plan into a reality.

Results

From February to March 2012, 4 children (aged 9 months to 6 years) with craniosynostosis underwent computer-assisted simulation and surgery. Diagnoses included metopic, unicoronal (n = 2), and multisutural synostoses (sagittal and left unicoronal). Open craniofacial repairs were performed as virtually planned, including front o-orbital remodeling, fronto-orbital advancement, and anterior two-thirds calvarial remodeling, respectively. Cutting and final positioning guides demonstrated excellent fidelity and ease of use.

Conclusions

Computer-aided design and manufacturing may offer a platform for optimizing operative efficiency, precision, and accuracy in craniosynostosis surgery, while accelerating the learning curve for future trainees.

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