Surgeons use virtual surgery to reconstruct patient’s jaw


Surgeons at Northwick Park Hospital have used 3D technology to reconstruct a man’s jaw using part of his leg bone.

Albert Goodman’s jaw was reconstructed as a 3D computer model allowing surgeons to plan incisions and cuts to within one millimeter. The blueprint was then used to guide them in the operating theatre.

Mr Goodman, 88, had been in constant pain for several years and unknowingly suffered a fractured jaw after the bone was weakened by previous radiotherapy treatment for cancer.

Doctors were initially reluctant to suggest a procedure given the his age, but said that his persistence eventually paid off.

Mr Goodman, a former ambulance technician who lives in Ruislip, said: “I didn’t even know my jaw had been fractured and simply struggled on to a point where I could barely open my mouth and only eat liquefied food. I ended up losing two-and-a-half stone.

“I was shocked when I went in for an appointment and was diagnosed with a broken jaw. It’s horrible living in constant pain. It really wore me down and I just wanted it sorted.”

Maxillofacial surgeon Abdul Ahmed pre-planned the 12-hour procedure recreating a virtual model and performed virtual surgery from the scans. It allowed the surgical team to reconstruct Mr Goodman’s new jaw using his leg bone so it fitted perfectly.

Ahmed said: “Virtual surgery saves time and allows us to be far more accurate so we can get straight down to business. It’s a real game changer and the technology is only going to get better.

“It’s a major procedure and all credit to the patient given his age. He was a pleasure to treat and I’m just glad we could help.

“The procedure took more than 12 hours which would be demanding for any patient let along some one of Mr Goodman’s age but he’s obviously a tough one.”

The pair share a love of golf and Mr Goodman would like nothing better than to get back on the course.

“I haven’t manged it yet because my leg still feels quite weak, but hopefully I can tee off again one day.”

London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWUH) is one of the largest integrated healthcare trusts in the country, providing hospital and community services to the people of Harrow, Brent and Ealing.

Established on 1 October 2014, its team of 9,000 clinical and support staff serve a population of approximately one million people.

In December 2017, the trust was named a ‘university teaching hospital’ in recognition of the important role we play in training clinicians of the future and bringing the benefits of research to the public.

The trust has also been using virtual reality (VR) technology within its palliative care units to help patients manage anxiety and pain, as recently reported by Digital Health News.

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