Force-Feedback in Craniofacial Surgery Simulation
Presented at the 2nd International Conference on Advanced Digital Technology in Head and Neck Reconstruction, Alberta, Canada, March, 2005.

D. Morris1, S. Girod2, F. Barbagli1, K. Salisbury2

1Department of Computer Science, Stanford University

2Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Stanford Univeristy Medical Center

The treatment of patients with complex facial deformities and fractures is one of the most challenging multidisciplinary tasks in medicine. Due to advancements in medical technology and surgical techniques in the last twenty years, surgical correction of severe malformations has become possible. Recent developments in 3D imaging techniques have already greatly facilitated diagnosis of complex craniofacial deformities. In the future, virtual environments will allow medical students to practice delicate operations and confirmed surgeons to learn new techniques and review procedures that are performed infrequently.

As a key step toward this goal, we have developed an environment for simulating craniofacial surgeries visually and haptically. CT or MR data can be loaded into the simulation environment, and a user can drill and manipulate skeletal anatomy using a variety of virtual tools, controlled with a force-feedback haptic device. Graphic, haptic, and auditory feedback is coordinated to provide a realistic sense of interaction with the virtual bone. Several aspects of relevant physiology are simulated, including the activity of sensitive nerves in the vicinity of potentially dangerous manipulations.

For simulation of osteosynthesis techniques, 3D models of several osteosynthesis plates are incorporated into the system. Using these industry standard plates, users can plan and practice operations using exact 3D models of both the patient and the hardware which will be used intraoperatively.