Computer-aided design and manufacturing in craniomaxillofacial surgery: the new state of the art

J Craniofac Surg. 2012 Jan;23(1):288-93. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e318241ba92.


The goal of this article was to illustrate the ease in which virtual surgery and computer-aided design and manufacturing can be used by the craniomaxillofacial surgeon to create tremendously accurate postoperative results and provide confidence with even the most complex three-dimensional bony reconstructions. With advancements in software technology and three-dimensional printing, our ability to plan and execute precise bony reconstruction has become a reality. With this technology, guides can be made to ensure exact bony repositioning or replacement. These guides can help guide cutting of the bone and can act as splints to precisely reposition the bone and direct plate placement. With use of these computer-aided design and manufacturing guides and the addition of guidance technology, the position of the bone can be guaranteed intraoperatively. We review our unique and advanced method in approaching some of these problems and illustrate the application of these techniques in mandibular reconstruction, orthognathic surgery, maxillofacial trauma, and temporomandibular joint reconstruction. This technology continues to evolve, and our indications for its application continue to grow. This article represents only a small portion of the types of cases in which these techniques have already been applied.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty / methods
  • Bone Plates
  • Bone Transplantation / methods
  • Computer-Aided Design*
  • Facial Bones / surgery*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Mandible / surgery
  • Maxillofacial Injuries / surgery
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Orthognathic Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Osteotomy / methods
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Skull / surgery*
  • Skull Base / surgery
  • Skull Fractures / surgery
  • Software
  • Splints
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / surgery
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting / methods
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Treatment Outcome
  • User-Computer Interface