- Cardiff, Wales
- press release
At the third annual conference on Advanced Digital Technology for Head and Neck Reconstruction today, SensAble Technologies, Inc, a leading provider of touch-enabled modeling solutions and haptic devices, and Majenta Solutions, an Authorized Reseller in the UK, showcased innovative uses of the FreeForm 3D modeling system for quickly creating patient-specific cranial and maxillofacial implants and prostheses. These include:
– Orbital (eye socket) soft-tissue implants created by Morriston Hospital in South Wales
– Surgical guides and soft-tissue, extra-oral prosthetics for eyes, ears and noses created by the University of Wales Institute – Cardiff’s National Centre for Product Design & Development Research (PDR)
– Custom titanium dental onlays to correct mandibular asymmetry made by the University of Sheffield’s School of Clinical Dentistry
Patients with cancer, trauma and congenital conditions often need custom implants with irregular or organic shapes. Traditionally medical teams carved wax, clay or gypsum models of patient-specific implants and prostheses – a time-consuming process requiring multiple iterations. Today teams are sculpting the same complex forms digitally with SensAble’s FreeForm 3D modeling system and delivering them faster, with more accuracy and reducing the number of patient fittings.
“FreeForm saved us at least 30 percent of the time it would have taken us to create our soft-tissue orbital implant versus working in wax,” said Peter Evans, consultant in maxillofacial prosthetics at Morriston Hospital. “We see such potential in FreeForm that we formed a collaboration called CARTIS to further explore how digital 3D design can aid in reconstructive modeling.”
Instead of using a computer mouse, FreeForm users hold a stylus-like PHANTOM haptic device, and literally sculpt by touch – actually “feeling” the implant or prosthesis and the patient’s skull or soft tissue, as they are designing on-screen – just as they would if they were working with wax or clay. FreeForm allows medical teams to review electronically and make swift refinements for an accurate fit before exporting for rapid prototyping or milling.
“FreeForm remains the most suitable, flexible system we have for a wide range of reconstructive modeling and the creation of prosthetics,” said Dominic Eggbeer, research officer for medical applications at the National Centre for Product Design & Development Research (PDR) at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff. “It is so effective that we are now offering this as a commercial service.”
“With FreeForm, dental technologists can work faster, and far more intuitively, to overcome inaccuracies associated with the traditional multi-stage laboratory process for a wide range of restorations, prostheses and implants,” said David Wildgoose, dental instructor, University of Sheffield School of Clinical Dentistry. The Journal of Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery article in January 2008 details his use of FreeForm for creating a patient-specific titanium onlay to correct a mandibular asymmetry.
The conference also includes a hands-on FreeForm session as part of a digital maxillofacial reconstruction workshop presented by Majenta Solutions on Monday, June 30, 2008.
About SensAble Technologies
Founded in 1993, SensAble Technologies is a leading developer of 3D touch-enabled (force feedback) solutions and technology that allow users to not only see and hear an on-screen computer application, but to actually ‘feel’ it. With 32 patents granted and over 6,000 systems installed worldwide, SensAble Technologies’ haptic technology is being used in applications ranging from designing toys and footwear, to surgical simulation and stroke rehabilitation, to dental restorations, as well as a range of research and robotic applications. The company markets its own 3D modeling solutions as well as its haptic devices and developer toolkits to medical, dental, design, and manufacturing companies; educational and research institutions; and OEMs.