The latest Ph.D. research from Surgical & Prosthetic Design in PDR is now available. Steffan Daniel completed his research, Towards Developing CAD/CAM Solutions in the Retention of Extra-Oral Facial Prosthetics towards the end of 2014.
Maxillofacial prosthetics became a specialist profession after the First World War, due to the many soldiers who were left disfigured. There have been significant developments in technology, surgical technique and improvements in cancer treatment and detection in the last decade. This has led to an increased number of patients with large post-surgical defects that require prosthetic rehabilitation, and therefore the demand for maxillofacial prosthetics is increasing. However, with increased patient numbers and a lack of investment, the Maxillofacial Prosthetics field is faced with challenges. There are a decreasing number of professionals entering the field and access to prosthetic services can be difficult for some patients. Prosthetic treatment currently relies on technically complex, time- consuming, craft-based techniques, but the training required for the application of new technologies is limited and requires costly specialist courses. These challenges must be tackled in order to meet healthcare and patient demands.
The design processes involved in the field of Maxillofacial Prosthetics are traditionally craft-based, but in recent years the field has shown an increasing interest in Computer Aided Design and Manufacture (CAD/CAM).
PDR began research into the use of technologies such as 3D scanning, computer aided design and 3D printing/rapid prototyping in facial prosthetics as early as 1999. Steffan’s research provides significant new insights into the design of complex osseointegrated retention mechanisms. Before Steffan’s work, the incorporation and design of these crucial components had not fully considered in the digital workflow. This represented a significant barrier to effective clinical adoption of CAD/CAM technologies in Maxillofacial Prosthetics.
This work has shown that there is potential for CAD/CAM technologies in the context of extra-oral retention mechanism design process, fabrication, and evaluation, and this drives future work.