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Andy Christensen is the general manager at Medical Modeling Corporation in Golden, Colorado. The company provides physical models to the medical community. Andy recognized the need for a fast, relatively low cost 3D surgical planning tool to assist surgeons in preparing for especially complex operations. This particularly applied to procedures involving craniofacial reconstruction. Medical Modeling purchased the Z Corp. System in January of 1999 to add to their range of modeling services and to target this emerging need. Their goal is to deliver a good quality model at a low cost with a one-day turnaround.


Dr. John Teichgraeber is the Associate Professor of Surgery for the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and the Division of Pediatric Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. He has over 20 years experience as a practicing physician.


Dr. Teichgraeber needed a more thorough way to prepare for surgery on his young patients. One such case was a young child, nine months old, who suffered from craniosyntosis. The surgical procedure to correct this, called fronto-orbital advancement with cranial vault remodeling, consists of releasing the fused suture and reshaping the skull. This type of procedure presents many challenges to the surgeon. Without careful planning, the new cuts could expand too much or expand asymetrically, causing the head to become misshapen. A procedure of this type usually takes more than four hours.


With the help of the Medical Modeling Corporation, Dr. Teichgraeber was able to take a 2D CT scan of his patient and create a 3D STL file. The software file was then imported and sliced within Z Corporation's System Software and prepared for modeling. The preparation of the data took minutes, and the three dimensional model took under four hours to complete.


The model was used by Dr. Teichgraeber in preparation for the surgery. It was also taken into the operation room non-sterile for reference during surgery. Using the model, Dr. Teichgraeber was able to perform the surgery in just three hours rather than the usual four. By cutting time in the operating room, Dr. Teichgraeber reduced the risks of complications during the procedure, and lowered the expense of the procedure.


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