CT scans improve facial reconstruction

High-resolution computed tomography (CT) modelling could help to make more natural-looking implants for patients undergoing reconstructive surgery for facial injuries, according to a preliminary study.

A report in the November/December issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery reveals that implants created using CT scans seem to offer excellent aesthetic results in the long-term.

For some time, implants made from either a patient's bone and tissue or synthetic materials have been used to correct severe facial and eye cavity abnormalities, such as those present at birth or sustained during facial trauma.

However, the implants are shaped during surgery and frequently fail to recreate the ideal contours of the face.

According to Dr Michael Groth of the Jules Stein Eye Institute in Los Angeles, patients who underwent three-dimensional high-resolution CT scanning of the face and head were able to benefit from acrylic implants made using the scan data.

In addition, the patients experienced no significant complications, including infection or displacement of the implant, during an average of 4.3 years following the implantation procedure.

"All of the patients demonstrated long-term sustained improvement of facial deformities," the authors wrote.

They concluded that synthetic implants, when designed beforehand using high-resolution CT scanning, offered improved precision and function over traditional methods.

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