Virtual surgery and 3-D printing in veterinary dentistry

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Veterinary oromaxillofacial surgery is rapidly advancing field in which surgeons continue to advance novel approaches and improve patient outcomes. Additionally, there is a growing client base that expects state-of-the-art interventions that may improve the lives of their pet. Soft tissue and osseous reconstruction of large defects is required and due to the anatomic complexity of the skull, midface and mandibles, these interventions create significant challenges in surgical planning and execution. High quality three-dimensional imaging of oromaxillofacial region and associated pathology becomes critical. Veterinary oromaxillofacial surgeons are among those pushing the boundaries of possibilities, employing technologies that allow patient-specific 3-D visualization both on a computer monitor with sophisticated software and in our hands with 3-D printed patient-specific models. Oromaxillofacial surgeons also utilize technology to create patient-specific surgical plans, surgical cutting guides, splints and implants. The use of surgical planning software allows for virtual rehearsal that has been shown to improve surgical precision and decrease intra-operative time. Three-dimensional printing has revolutionized visualization of complex anatomy and pathology, improved surgical planning and allows for improved pre-surgical preparation, particularly in the field of craniomaxillofacial trauma. This allows the surgeon to concentrate on the execution of the surgical plan which can reduce anaesthesia time greatly.

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