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Reconstructing Lives in a “High-Tech” World

"3D Printing" -- once an obscure concept, today a household term --  has been used for nearly a decade by clinical specialists at The Craniofacial Center (CFC) to design "high-tech" treatment solutions for complex rehabilitative and reconstructive cases. 3D Printing is only part of a much broader process of digital treatment protocols, that are strategically-designed and carefully-executed for each individual patient.

3D imaging, sophisticated modeling & simulation software, and a variety of 3D printing technologies provide the foundation in  treatment planning for the technology experts at The Craniofacial Center.  There is even a computerized device to measure skin color for the reconstructive specialists at CFC.

CFC's high-tech treatment modalities help patients and their families better understand the course of their treatment and the expected outcomes through a cascade of better preparedness by both clinician and patient.

For clinicians,  computer-based techniques allow surgeons to carefully study the patient's condition through a process call "Virtual Surgical Planning" or "VSP" to simulate different surgical interventions before initiating treatment.  This process improves the predictability of treatment, which in turn enables better education of  patients and their families.  With an enhanced understanding of their reconstruction, patients' commitment and compliance to their treatment contributes to their overall rehabilitation. Improved treatment efficiency, reduced OR time and treatment costs, improved accuracy of the reconstructive plan are some of the benefits described by the technology-driving clinical specialists at The Craniofacial Center. "VSP" and its benefits in patient treatment are extensively described by surgeons in Crain's Chicago Business.

 Patients at the Craniofacial Center are faced with challenges  that most people could never even conceive of in their lifetimes. Facial deformities resulting from birth defects, or extensive surgery to treat aggressive cancer leave patients with daily challenges of basic functions like, eating, breathing, speaking; and social challenges related to public  interaction with a facial deformity. Reconstruction of these individuals requires complex care in both surgical and prosthetic  reconstruction, and can take years or until adulthood to be fully addressed. The specialists at The Craniofacial Center capitalize on their collective multidisciplinary expertise and look to the latest advancements in computer technology to be able to offer the best and most efficient care for their very unique patient population.

There's no going back. "I won't schedule surgery without it, now that I know first-hand the value of VSP and computer-based  techniques." says Dr. Mimis Cohen, Division Chief of Plastic Surgery and Director of The Craniofacial Center. "The 3D pictures really show me the patient, so I can ensure the best surgical result." "The investment in 3D and 'high-tech' treatment has been well worth it for both our clinical staff and our patients. We are looking to the future."