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Virtual Surgery for Noses

April 21, 2011

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — A preliminary report suggests that virtual nasal surgery has the promise of being a prolific tool that could allow surgeons to carry out tailored and individualized nasal surgery via computer simulation techniques.

Nasal obstruction is more often than not the cause of a deviated septum (a condition in which the partition between the two sides of the nose is off-center or crooked, making breathing difficult) or by enlarged tissues (turbinates) within the nose. Two surgical procedures universally performed by otolaryngologists are septoplasty (an operation to correct the deformity in the septum) and turbinate surgery.

“With the availability of powerful bioengineering computer-aided design software, anatomically accurate three-dimensional (3D) computational models can now be generated from computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data,” the authors write as background information in the article. “Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software can be used to analyze these models and calculate various anatomic and physiologic measures including nasal airflow, resistance, air conditioning, and wall shear stress.

John S. Rhee, M.D., M.P.H., of the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues assessed whether virtual surgery performed on three-dimensional nasal airway models can in due course calculate post-surgical biophysical parameters acquired via computational fluid dynamics. The researchers used pre- and post-surgery CT scans of a patient undergoing septoplasty and right inferior turbinate reduction (ITR) to generate 3D models of the nasal airway.

“Overall, the virtual surgery results are promising and demonstrate the potential of CFD techniques to predict post-surgical outcomes,” the authors report. “The CFD calculations of overall nasal resistance for the combined virtual septoplasty with ITR model correlated well with the actual post-surgery calculations.”

“As we look to the future, the hope is that this technology can be more routinely used day to day in the armamentarium [the medicines, equipment, and techniques available to a medical practitioner] of otolaryngologists and facial plastic surgeons,” the authors conclude. “At this time, CFD technology is truly translational in nature and will require further research and development to reach its full potential for future applications.”

SOURCE: Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, April 18, 2011




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