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Integrated 3-D Imaging Facilitates Human Face Transplantation
Date:11/27/2011

tic or plaster models are first created based on 3-D CT or angiographic images or reconstruction. Following this, mock cadaveric dissections are performed to allow surgeons to plan for the donor and recipient surgeries. MRI and other imaging exams may also be used to provide supplemental information.

By combining information from multiple imaging exams and creating a sophisticated 3-D computer model, the researchers for this study were better able to assess the facial structure and contours, the underlying bone, muscles, nerves and vessels, as well as the extent of damage.

Using sophisticated computer modeling software, Drs. Smith and Gorantla, along with Joseph Losee, M.D., integrated information from 3-D CT, CT angiography, MRI and high-definition tractography to create a 3-D model of the patient's head and neck anatomy. The same type of modeling technology is often used in movies to animate computer-generated characters with detailed three-dimensional human features and realistic expressions.

"We have integrated data from multiple imaging sources into a single 3-D representation that allows for real-time user interaction and modification," Dr. Smith said. "In assessing eligibility for this procedure, it is critical to understand whether the patient has enough blood vessels and bone structure to support new facial tissue. This 3-D modeling helps us customize the procedure to the patient's individual anatomy so that the donor tissue will fit like a puzzle piece onto the patient's face."

Using computer modeling, the team also overlaid the patient model with a polygon mesh of a generic human face and then customized it to the recipient facial anatomy. Dr. Smith said the ability to manipulate this 3-D facial envelope over the residual face model allows the entire surgical team to participate in planning exactly where bone, blood vessel and nerves will be cut and connected, as well as to evaluate the outcomes of reconstructive transplantat
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SOURCE Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)
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