Basic research and 12 years of clinical experience in computer-assisted navigation technology: a review

Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2005 Jan;34(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijom.2004.03.018.


Computer-aided surgical navigation technology is commonly used in craniomaxillofacial surgery. It offers substantial improvement regarding esthetic and functional aspects in a range of surgical procedures. Based on augmented reality principles, where the real operative site is merged with computer generated graphic information, computer-aided navigation systems were employed, among other procedures, in dental implantology, arthroscopy of the temporomandibular joint, osteotomies, distraction osteogenesis, image guided biopsies and removals of foreign bodies. The decision to perform a procedure with or without computer-aided intraoperative navigation depends on the expected benefit to the procedure as well as on the technical expenditure necessary to achieve that goal. This paper comprises the experience gained in 12 years of research, development and routine clinical application. One hundred and fifty-eight operations with successful application of surgical navigation technology--divided into five groups--are evaluated regarding the criteria "medical benefit" and "technical expenditure" necessary to perform these procedures. Our results indicate that the medical benefit is likely to outweight the expenditure of technology with few exceptions (calvaria transplant, resection of the temporal bone, reconstruction of the orbital floor). Especially in dental implantology, specialized software reduces time and additional costs necessary to plan and perform procedures with computer-aided surgical navigation.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Computer Graphics
  • Dental Research
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Oral Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted*
  • Technology, High-Cost
  • User-Computer Interface