3D technology for facial reconstructive surgery is like a blueprint for a building, except it involves the face, and the architects are surgeons. Doctors can now use this Virtual Surgical Planning (VSP) technology to create digital 3D representation to improve a deformity due to an accident or tumor. Surgeons can incorporate this software to form a detailed plan for the most complicated surgeries, way before making an initial cut. 

The first step is to collect a complete set of images, including a CAT scan and 3D scan. The medial images are fed into the VSP program to create a comprehensive view. With this program, surgeons can customize the whole procedure. This process translates to fewer surprises and more predictable results. For the patient, it yields a better and happier outcome.  The following story illustrates the beauty and brains behind this technology. 

Tara Singh, age 31, had an aggressive tumor in her jaw and needed surgery to remove it. However, the medical assistant at LIJ knew that repairing a jaw was no simple feat, would require multiple surgeries, and would also be time consuming. The average patient would leave the hospital without teeth and wait several years before they could get dental implants. This would also affect their smile and ability to speak and eat normally. 

Fortunately, her doctor, David Hirsch, MD, DDS, FACS, Sr. VP of Dental Medicine, was a pioneer the field of jaw reconstruction and came up with a new option. The procedure “Jaw in a Day” allowed her to get a new jaw, new teeth, and remove the tumor all in one surgical procedure. 

Jaw in a Day, developed by Dr. Hirsch, uses special probes to burn or freeze tumors (called ablative tumor surgery) and conventional jaw reconstruction surgery simultaneously.  He felt Tara would be the perfect recipient for this surgery, which he had done once before. 

Although the surgery would be done in one day, the prep for Singh’s procedure began a few months prior to the surgery. The team included an ablative surgeon, a reconstructive surgeon, and prosthodontist. They also used VSP to create a 3D blueprint prior to the surgery. This technology allows surgeons to customize the procedure with total precision, down to the last millimeter. It also yields the best results, because it can actually enhance the patient’s facial features and teeth. 

Prior to the surgery, detailed images were taken of the patients face, jaw, and leg bone, from which they would extract the graft. They also took 3D photographs of her mouth and teeth, so that the final outcome would be a natural match. 

This procedure was an amazing achievement, except for the fact that Singh was only able to receive temporary artificial teeth, which were bolted into the graft.  Fortunately, within a few weeks, the patient was back to everyday activities. Three months after the original surgery, the temporary implants were replaced with a set that would remain permanently. The new set was made of zirconia ceramic, to look as natural as possible.  The results were amazing, and Singh was elated to flash her beautiful smile.  

The development of 3D printers has also revolutionized the way beauty products are manufactured. At first glance, it may not appear as though 3D printing would have an impact on the beauty industry. However, this is far from reality, since it has made various technological strides. The development of Mink, the world’s first 3D makeup printer, allowed users to print ready-to-use makeup sheets directly from online images. Subsequently, Adorn released a 3D scanner and printer, which is a small pen containing blue, black, and white pigments to provide customers with more control of cosmetic choices, creating perfect foundation matches to every skin tone and type. Other digital companies followed suit. It seems 3D advances in the beauty industry are shifting to match consumers expectations from skincare to cosmetic choices. 

Risselle Naimark is a Professional Freelance Makeup Artist and Skincare Consultant. She carries an extensive line of personalized skincare, cosmetics, and anti-aging products. Risselle is also available for weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, makeup lessons, and all of your beauty needs. She can be reached at 718 263-5517.