Customised bone replacements to uplift facial surgeryJuly 13th, 2010 - 6:54 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, July 13 (IANS) Patients needing facial reconstruction may soon have the option of customised bone replacements.
Using an engineering technique called topology optimisation, researchers from the University of Illinois and Ohio State University Medical Centre will pattern custom bone replacement implants for facial surgery.
The approach uses extensive 3-D modelling to design structures that need to support specific loads in a confined space, and is often used to engineer high-rise buildings, car parts and other structures, according to an University of Illinois statement.
The loss of facial bones, whether resulting from illness or injury, poses problems for reconstructive surgeons beyond cosmetic implications.The patient’s chewing, swallowing or even breathing abilities may be impaired.
“The mid-face is perhaps the most complicated part of the human skeleton,” said Glaucio Paulino, professor of civil and environmental engineering at University of Illinois, who led the research.
“What makes mid-face reconstruction more complicated is its unusual unique shape (bones are small and delicate) and functions, and its location in an area susceptible to high contamination with bacteria.”
Facial reconstruction seemed a natural fit for the (topology) technique, Paulino said.
Topology optimisation would create patient-specific, case-by-case designs for tissue-engineered bone replacements.
To fashion bone replacements, surgeons often harvest bone from elsewhere in the patient’s body - the shoulder blade or hip, for example - and manually fashion it into something resembling the missing skull portion.
However, since other bones are very different from facial bones in structure, patients may still suffer impaired function or cosmetic distortion.
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