3D Implant Navigation Improves Accuracy
Just back from the Annual Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Meeting in Washington D.C.. As always there were many interesting courses that I attended including; advances in cosmetic surgery and injectables, sleep apnea, infections, and dental implants. I had the opportunity to try a 3D navigation system (called the X – Guide) that allows the surgeon to place implants while watching the implant drill on a video monitor showing the patient’s jaw as seen on the Cone Beam Cat Scan. The implant is first placed virtually using traditional implant planning software . Then the X-Guide system places a dynamic focus point over the precise area where the implant will be placed. It does this by placing fiduciary markers in the mouth and on the handpiece which allows the software using cameras mounted to an overhead light to localize the handpiece relative to the patient and the CBCT. The surgeon looks at the focus point on a monitor which guides the handpiece to place the implant to the predetermined depth, position, and angulation. This technology replaces static surgical guides and eliminates the delay in fabrication of surgical stents. It also improves implant position when implants are placed free hand. I am very interested in using the X Guide as a training tool for residents that I train at the University of Vermont Medical Center. Interestingly, this same technology has been used for years in Neurosurgery to allow surgeons to remove tumors of the brain with great precision.