Computer-aided design and manufacturing in craniosynostosis surgery

Mitchel Seruya, Daniel E. Borsuk, Saami Khalifian, Benjamin S. Carson, Nicholas M. Dalesio, Amir H. Dorafshar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background: Considerable operative time is expended during the planning, shaping, and reconfiguring of the cranial vault in the pursuit of symmetry during open craniosynostosis surgery. Computer-aided design and manufacturing has recently been implemented in orthognathic surgery and complex craniomaxillofacial reconstruction as a means of optimizing operative accuracy and efficiency. In this report, we highlight our growing experience with this promising modality for the preoperative planning and intraoperative execution of cranial vault remodeling in patients with both simple and complex forms of craniosynostosis. Methods: Computer-assisted surgical planning begins with acquisition of high-resolution computed tomography scans of the craniofacial skeleton. An Internet-based teleconference is then held between the craniofacial and biomedical engineering teams and provides a forum for virtual manipulation of the patient's preoperative three-dimensional computed tomography with real-time changes and feedback. Through virtual surgical planning, osteotomies are designed and calvarial bones reconfigured to achieve the desired cranial vault appearance. Cutting and positioning guides are manufactured to transform the virtual plan into a reality. Results: From February to March 2012, 4 children (aged 9 months to 6 years) with craniosynostosis underwent computer-assisted simulation and surgery. Diagnoses included metopic, unicoronal (n = 2), and multisutural synostoses (sagittal and left unicoronal). Open craniofacial repairs were performed as virtually planned, including front o-orbital remodeling, fronto-orbital advancement, and anterior two-thirds calvarial remodeling, respectively. Cutting and final positioning guides demonstrated excellent fidelity and ease of use. Conclusions: Computer-aided design and manufacturing may offer a platform for optimizing operative efficiency, precision, and accuracy in craniosynostosis surgery, while accelerating the learning curve for future trainees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1100-1105
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Computer-aided design
  • computer-aided manufacturing
  • craniosynostosis
  • virtual surgical planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


Dive into the research topics of 'Computer-aided design and manufacturing in craniosynostosis surgery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this