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Exploring The Power Of Virtual Surgical Planning

Mon, 09/20/2010 - 7:11am

Materialise announced that it would lend its expertise in virtual surgical planning to researcher Dr. J. B. Jupiter, Chief Hand and Upper Extremity Service at Massachusetts General Hospital. Through an AO funded, IRB approved study, Dr. Jupiter will use SurgiCase® Orthopaedics to explore the advantages of computer-assisted surgery, virtual 3D planning and intra-operative use of patient-specific surgical guides in osteotomies to correct compound wrist fractures-the first research project of its kind.

Previous studies have proven a link between the quality of corrective surgery and overall post-operative wrist function. The challenge to the orthopedic surgeon is that the anatomical deformity associated with compound wrist fractures is complex and difficult to visualize via standard X-ray technology. While introducing 3D computer models obtained from CT-scanned images has helped doctors map multiple planes of deformity, they're only useful during an operation as a reference.

To find out if SurgiCase® Orthopaedics can play a determinative role in the surgery's outcome, Dr. Jupiter designed a randomized, multi-center trial of two groups of patients. All will be undergoing elective surgery to correct a compound wrist fracture. Surgical planning for the control group will be done through conventional methods, i.e. X-rays. Planning for the second (study) group will be computer-assisted.

That's where Dr. Jupiter intends to rely extensively on SurgiCase® Orthopaedics. The first step will be obtaining CT images of a malunited and a contralateral normal forearm and exporting them to Materialise. There, clinical engineers will convert them to a 3D model and work with the surgeon to try out different approaches to the surgical plan. The model makes it easy for a surgeon to customize a plan for the individual patient.

Next, Materialise will build the surgical guides that carry the pre-surgical plan into the operating room. Custom-designed to fit the patient's anatomy, the guides ensure the highest precision in drilling and cutting. The guide is constructed to fit a specific location on the patient's bone and contains the exact positioning for the osteotomy and drill holes of the affixing plate.

After undergoing surgery, each patient will follow standardized protocols for post-op care. Outcome measurements will be evaluated under acceptable standards by the attending physician at regular intervals during a 1 year period.

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