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Computer-aided design introduced to assist novice plastic surgeons.

The two-piece manufacturing system designed to 3D-print faces for surgical practice.

Powell, et al

Repairing, or redesigning, faces is a fiendishly tricky business carrying very high stakes. It is a particularly challenging task for trainee surgeons and those who have to supervise their work.

Now, in a bid to reduce the risk to patients and doctors alike, a team of surgeons led by Allison Powell of the University of Michigan, US, have combined computer-aided design software with 3D-printing to produce a multilayer, anatomically accurate facial model for use in surgical education.

In a paper published in the journal JAMA Plastic Surgery, the researchers report that trainee surgeons found the experience of practicing on the printed faces was “rated highly for realism, experience, performance, and usefulness”.

“With slight refinement,” they conclude, “the model has strong potential for broad use in training in otolaryngology–head and neck surgery and facial plastic surgery.”

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