Virtual modeling, stereolithography, and intraoperative CT guidance for the optimization of sagittal synostosis reconstruction: a technical note

Andrew J. Kobets, Adam Ammar, Jonathan Nakhla, Aleka Scoco, Rani Nasser, James Tait Goodrich, Rick Abbott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Introduction: Sagittal synostosis affects 1 in 1000 live births and may result in increased intracranial pressure, hindrance of normal neural development, and cosmetic deformity due to scaphocephaly. Historically, several approaches have been utilized for surgical correction and recently, computed tomography (CT)-guided reconstruction procedures are increasingly used. In this report, the authors describe the use of a CT-derived virtual and stereolithographic (3D printed) craniofacial models, which are used to guide intraoperative bone placement, and intraoperative CT guidance for confirmation of bone placement, to ensure the accuracy of surgical correction of scaphocephaly, as demonstrated to parents. Methods: Preoperative high-resolution CT imaging was used to construct 3D image sets of the skulls of two infants (a 14-month-old female and a 6-month-old male) with scaphocephaly. These 3D image sets were then used to create a virtual model of the proposed surgical correction for each of the infants’ deformities, which was then printed and made available for use intraoperatively to plan the bone flap, fashion the bone cuts, and optimize graft placement. After the remodeling, adherence to the preoperative plan was assessed by overlaying a CT scan of the remodeled skull with the virtual model. Deviations from the preoperative model were noted. Results: Both patients had excellent postoperative cosmetic correction of head shape and contouring. The mean operative time was 5 h, blood loss was 100 ml, and one child required modification of the subocciput after intraoperative imaging showed a deviation of the reconstruction from the surgical goal as depicted by the preoperative model. Conclusion: The addition of neuro-navigation to stereolithographic modeling ensured the accuracy of the reconstruction for our patients and provided greater confidence to both surgeons and parents. While unisutural cases are presented for clarity, correction was still required for one patient. The cost of the models and the additional CT required must be weighed against the complexity of the procedure and possibly reserved for patients with potentially complicated corrections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalChild's Nervous System
StateAccepted/In press - Feb 19 2018


  • Craniosynostosis
  • CT guidance
  • Reconstruction
  • Scaphocephaly
  • Stereolithography
  • Virtual model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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