Here in New Orleans, plastic surgeons like Dr. Hugo St. Hilaire are using the latest advances in computer and materials science to plan complex craniofacial surgeries.
Thanks to Virtual Surgical Planning® and patient specific implants, reconstructive surgeries that would have been impossible just years ago are now the standard of care for patients with congenital craniofacial defects and for those suffering high-velocity wounds and other disfiguring injuries.
State-of-the-art digital imaging allows us to design patient specific implants, which are fabricated using 3D-printing technologies and from bio-inert materials.
Taken together, these new technologies are saving and changing lives—allowing skilled surgeons in New Orleans to rebuild flesh and bone that has been lost to traumatic injury and to repair congenital deficiencies.
Post-Traumatic and Post-Ablative Applications
The loss of bone due to trauma or the resection of a tumor can have devastating cosmetic effects.
The good news is that high-resolution digital imaging has given plastic surgeons an incredible range of options in addressing bone deficiencies created by otherwise life-saving procedures.
While high-resolution CAT scans have been around for years now, increased computing power and sophisticated software allows surgeons a detailed view the structures beneath the skin—before they operate.
These applied technologies are now known as Virtual Surgical Planning® and represent a powerful advancement in the art and science of plastic and reconstructive surgery.
Indeed, those same powerful images used in planning the removal of diseased/damaged bone also aid in the fabrication (3D-printing) of patient specific prosthetic implants. Companies like KLS Martin continue to develop safer, “bioinert” materials. Materials, in other words that are well-tolerated by the body, dramatically reducing complications following reconstructive surgery.
Other Applications for Patient Specific Implants
Dr. St. Hilaire, Chief of Plastic Surgery at LSU Health Science Center in New Orleans, is among those seeking creative applications of this exciting technology.
Dr. St. Hilaire and his team have been using Virtual Surgical Planning® to create patient-specific implants to address congenital birth defects in children and even in adults. So long as the soft tissue is healthy, the possibilities seem limitless—and we are inventing new possibilities daily.
Indeed, craniofacial specialists see these techniques as a “simple” way to address complex defects. Chin implants, cheekbones, and even the bones of the orbital (eye) socket have been printed three-dimensionally in achieving excellent cosmetic results for both reconstructive and elective purposes.
“Quite frankly,” says Dr. St. Hilaire, “The technology is awesome and incredibly effective in the right patient where the soft tissue is healthy.”