1. 4.12 Maxilla Cranio Facial Ė Medical

This case study again shows the necessity of rapid prototyping in medicine.

4.12.1 Background

The patient, a three-year-old boy, was scanned at the Pretoria East Hospital clinic with the aid of their Toshiba Spiral X-Vision/GX CAT scanner. The CAT scanner at Pretoria East Hospital based in Pretoria. The 2D CAT slices were again stored on ¼" data cartridge magnetic tape. 2D CAT images of various positions were stored on film for record. The patient required maxilla cranio facial surgery.

Maxilla-Facial specialists from the University of Pretoria requested a prototype of the patientís skull. The skull was required for pre-surgical planning.

Permission was granted so that this patientís data may be retrieved from the CAT scanner. Please refer to section (3.7) for the data retrieval procedures. Pretoria East Hospital prepared a 3D visualization of the scanned area. The spiral data was prepared in one set. The radiology team prepared one set of 3mm thick slices and 3mm intervals or spacing. The finest possible slice thickness and slice spacing were again requested to obtain the best results. In this case it would be better to sample more data than required. The CAT scanner parameters were restricted to scanning distance and slice thickness. The surgeon was particularly interested in the frontal or facial area of the skull. For a successful facial reconstruction, the facial geometry had to be known.

The data was then processed and a meeting was arranged with the surgeons, to verify the results on the computer screen. They were please with the results and requested that we continue with the next phase of the project.

The next stage was to create a prototype of the skull. The 3dd file was used with the Materialise, CTM software to generate a STL format file. The STL file was then used with the Stratasys QuickSlice software. Horizontal slices were created. The software performed support generation, automatically. The SML file was created. The FDM machines require this data to build a prototype. The prototype was grown with the red ICW06 wax material and finished by removing the support structure generated by the FDM process. The skull was grown in two section to simplify the prototyping process. This also made the removal of the support structure easier.

The prototype of the skull was supplied to the maxilla-facial surgeons. This prototype could only be used for visual inspection. Wax prototypes are very fragile and can break easily when handled. It also does not machine easily. A bronze casting was made from this wax skull with the aid of the investment casting process.

A second skull prototype was produced by a group in Holland. The South African Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) rapid prototyping system was not operational at that stage. The skull was produced in the glass filled nylon material.

4.12.2 Conclusion

The SLS system proved to be the best system to use with this technology. It is of great use to produce prototypes without the generation of a support structure. The support structure always need to be removed and very often causes problems to the extent of damaging the prototype.

The surgeons worked with ease with the glass filled nylon material prototype. The skull prototype was marked and cut in sections as the surgeons planned the operation. A brace was also fitted to reposition the eye socket section.

2D CAT images were checked during scanning. . CAT scanned film was also provided with 2D slice information as well as 3D rendering to be used for verification. The window settings were optimized on the CT computer. Measurements were checked. Window and threshold settings were set to the ideal conditions.

Both the maxilla cranio- facial- and neuro-surgeons frequently referred to the skull prototype during the eight-hour operation.

The Bronze casting proved to be useful for preserving the wax prototype but unfortunately warped slightly. Other casting imperfections such as pit holes were evident.

This skull data was supplied to the CSIR Virtual Reality Centre. Initially they battled to retrieve the data due to a lack of computer power. This skull is now used to demonstrate the virtual reality surgery concept to be used by medical students. Images

2D CAT scan slice at the 1100 position


2D CAT scan slice at the 1080 position



SLS skull prototype in GF nylon



Bronze casting of the skull



FDM skull prototype in ICW06 wax.



Surgical Reconstructed SLS prototype.



3D Image of skull, combines soft and hard tissue.


3D Image of skull, bone structure only.



4.12.3 Maxilla Cranio Facial Data Sheet:
  Description Options (Default) Data


1 CT Image Names   seun.00
2 Patient/Project Name   seun.pat
3 Number of First Input Image   1.6912.2
4 Number of Last Input Image   1.6912.319
5 Number of First Output Image   seun.00
7 Horisontal Nr. Of Image Pixels 0 to 65535 (265,512,1024) 512
8 Vertical Nr. Of Image Pixels 0 to 65535 (265,512,1024) 512
9 Number of Images per File (1) 1
10 File Swap Format (0,3) 0,3 Toshiba
11 Pixel Type B,UB,S,US,L,UL,F -
12 Header Size *see formula below -
13 Inter Image Header Size 0 -
14 Add Value 0 to 4095 -
15 Scale Value 0 to 4095 -
16 Table Position (mm) -1021.5
17 Distance Between Slices (mm) 3 recon to 1
18 Slice thickness (mm) 3 recon to 1
19 Pixel Size SQ. F.O.R./Nr. Hor. Pixels (mm) 0.39
20 Gantry Tilt Angle Degrees 0
21 Field of Reconstruction/View (mm) 200
22 Number of Images   154
23 File Size of CAT Image kb 521
24 File Size of Converted Image kb 76-131
25 .3dd file size Mb 6*.srf
26 .STL file size Mb 96, 17.9 with filter
28 .IGS file size Mb -
29 RP Slice file size Mb 28.9+19.4
30 RP Download File size Mb 12.1+13.9
31 Grow Time Hour 132.9
32 Tip size (T12, T25) T12
33 Slice Thickness (0.01", 0.014") 0.01"
34 Finishing Time Hour 8
35 Processing Time Hour 16
36 Data Retrieval Time Hour 3
37 Total Cost Rand =27*250+7500=14250


Reverse Engineering Case Studies
Shortcuts back to:   Medical Studies   or   Industrial & Biological Studies   or   Fossil Studies
or (Back to the Home Page)