We are creating some awesome events for you. Kindly bear with us.

Digital Tool Allows Surgeons a Pre-Theatre Rehearsal

Image Credits: University of Sydney, Press Release

Jawbone reconstruction – or orthognathic surgery – is a complicated medical procedure whereby a person’s jaw is treated for significant trauma, such as from a car crash or gunshot wound, or diseases like oral cancer. This surgery involves replacing damaged or diseased bone tissue with an implant, typically a titanium plate or prosthesis, with patient recovery taking as long as twelve weeks. Complications like implant failure and infections are common, potentially requiring repeat surgery which can place a significant burden on a patient.

In recent years, biomedical engineers have developed a new generation of medical implants designed to not only substitute bone but to help regenerate tissue back to its original state using 3D-printed tissue scaffold-fixation systems. These devices enhance the innate healing potential of human tissue, using a scaffold as a temporary support structure for the surrounding cells to attach to and grow. Eventually, the scaffold is expected to dissolve into the bloodstream, leaving new tissue in its place.

Currently, a PhD student in the University of Sydney’s School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, Ben Ferguson, is developing a surgical planning tool to assist surgeons in planning complex jawbone reconstruction procedures using these new-generation devices. Using advanced computational technology and decision-making algorithms, the tool works by generating a ‘digital twin’ of the patient using CT scan data. It then rapidly simulates different designs of the implant before 3-D printing the final, optimal design, allowing surgeons to perform a digital ‘rehearsal’ before theatre.

Mr Ferguson, who is due to submit his PhD in September, stated, “Nowadays, it would be unthinkable to construct a building without running an engineering simulation on it beforehand. This is the industry standard in civil engineering – the same expectation should be applied to surgery on a human being.”

He also noted that the jaw is a complex area – required to talk, eat, chew and perform tasks that require both finesse and strength. Because of its complexity, the aim is to provide orthognathic surgeons with the best tools so they are set up for success – hopefully reducing repeat surgeries and improving patient outcomes.

The surgical planning tool combines computer-aided design (CAD) tools with high-fidelity computer-aided engineering models and optimisation algorithms that can accurately simulate the medical device while under physiological load. In addition to pre-surgical planning, this simulation data can also assist the surgeon in optimising the medical device’s design, helping them resolve issues that inevitably arise when designing a device that must meet multiple design and medical objectives, according to Professor Qing Li, Mr Ferguson’s supervisor.

The whole process is predicated on a delicate balance. For example, an implant may need to mechanically stimulate the surrounding tissue to enhance healing, but mechanical stimulation may then increase the risk of implant failure. Our algorithms and data-driven approach help surgeons develop an optimal design without having to rely solely on intuition, the Professor said.

The researchers have recently partnered with Professor Jonathan Clark AM, Chair of Head and Neck Cancer Reconstructive Surgery at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse to help translate the new technology into a clinical reality.

Professor Clark stated that Australia has been a leader in jaw reconstruction since Dr Ian Taylor’s 1974 breakthrough mandibular reconstruction. Since then, jaw reconstruction has evolved substantially: digital tools have been incorporated into pre-surgery planning, allowing surgeons to create more precise devices, with better aesthetic and functional outcomes for patients.

This tool and data provide the opportunity to evolve the technology beyond form as well as to also include biomechanical modelling, which can help predict the bone tissue’s response to physiological loads, Professor Jonathan Clark stated.

This kind of analysis – termed CT-based finite element modelling – will be of great importance as we move away from using the patient’s bone for reconstruction and start to incorporate customised scaffolds in the future.


Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.


CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.


Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.


SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.


HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 


IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

Send this to a friend