Computer-Assisted Design and Manufacturing Assists Less Experienced Surgeons in Achieving Equivalent Outcomes in Cranial Vault Reconstruction

Regina S Cho, Joseph Lopez, Leila Musavi, Bartlomiej Kachniarz, Alexandra Macmillan, Beita Badiei, Ricardo Bello, Amir H Dorafshar
Journal of Craniofacial Surgery 2019 July 12

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to assess whether long-term outcomes were equivalent between computer-assisted design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) -assisted cranial vault reconstruction performed by an inexperienced surgeon, with fewer years of surgical experience, and traditional reconstruction performed by senior surgeons with many decades of experience.

METHODS: An Institutional Review Board-approved retrospective cohort study was performed for all patients with nonsyndromic craniosynostosis between the ages of 1 month to 18 years who received primary, open calvarial vault reconstruction at the Johns Hopkins Hospital between 1990 and 2017. The primary outcome variable was the Whitaker category (I-IV) for level of required revision at the 2-year follow-up visit. Secondary outcomes included estimated blood loss, length of stay, operative time, and postoperative complications. CAD/CAM-assisted surgery was considered noninferior if the proportion of cases requiring any revision (Whitaker II, III, or IV) was no more than 10% greater than the proportion in the traditional surgery group with multivariate logistic regression analysis. t tests and fisher exact tests were used for secondary outcomes.

RESULTS: A total of 335 patients were included, with 35 CAD/CAM-assisted reconstructions. CAD/CAM-assisted reconstruction was noninferior to traditional after accounting for patient demographics, type of surgery, and experience level of the plastic surgeon. The traditional group required revision more frequently at 29.0% compared to CAD/CAM at 14.3%. Secondary outcomes were not significantly different between groups, but CAD/CAM had significantly longer average operative times (5.7 hours for CAD/CAM, 4.3 hours for traditional, P < 0.01).

CONCLUSION: CAD/CAM technology may lower the learning curve and assist less experienced plastic surgeons in achieving equivalent long-term outcomes in craniofacial reconstruction.


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