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High-performance engineering used to design facial bone replacements
Date:7/12/2010

e could create a patient-specific design" said Alok Sutradhar, a postdoctoral researcher in plastic surgery at Ohio State and lead author of the paper describing the work.

Sutradhar is trained as an engineer, with a specialty in 3-D computational modeling and a background in working with multifunctional high-performance lightweight materials used in space shuttle tiles and other aircraft.

The application of his expertise to medicine is particularly rare, said Michael Miller, professor of surgery and director of the division of plastic surgery at Ohio State. "We are not aware of anyone else approaching facial bone defects using these methods," said Miller, a co-author of the paper.

The method, topological optimization, puts a computer to work to design the smallest structure needed to accommodate specific spatial boundaries and mechanical loads. The technique combines a series of mathematical equations with advanced 3-D imaging to produce a structure that takes into account both the space to be filled and space that must remain unoccupied to allow for such features as nasal passages and eyes.

"The purpose is to find the most optimized macrostructure to replace the missing bone. It would contain the minimum amount of tissue positioned in three-dimensional space and supported upon remaining uninjured portions of the facial skeleton," Sutradhar explained.

With the technology developed to date for this purpose, the researchers start with a sample MRI image of a damaged face to establish the outer boundaries of a rectangular space in which a replacement structure would be placed surgically. They specify spaces that must be left void, and then apply a number of mathematical equations that account for how strong the structure must be and how it should be shaped to support the skull and accommodate the loads of chewing and blunt pressure on the face.

In one of the first examples produced by the experimental computations
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Contact: Alok Sutradhar
alok.sutradhar@osumc.edu
614-293-7655
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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