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AR and 3D Printing Combined by Israeli Doctors for Eye Socket Repair Surgery

AR and 3D Printing Combined by Israeli Doctors for Eye Socket Repair Surgery

Galilee Medical Center (GMC) surgeons have created a new technique for eye socket fracture treatment with augmented reality and 3D printing.

The doctors have created a metal implant for those suffering from facial injuries, followed by precise skull placement of the implant using Microsoft HoloLens glasses. The process, believed to be the first of its kind in the world, is quite accurate and fast. It can take away the requirement of performing follow-up surgeries.

Professor Samer Srouji, the leader of the surgical process, shared his viewpoints about it. According to him, using augmented reality with 3D printing resulted in the precise execution of the surgical procedure, along with considerable time reduction. Srouji remarked that the newly developed technology can be utilised for enhancing clinical outcomes, and also cut down the need for repetitive imaging and surgery.

Ways to use 3D printing

The concept of utilising additive manufacturing for developing custom facial implants is not new. In the past, NHS technicians have used 3D printing for the purpose of facial reconstruction surgeries for more than four years. Texas A&M University scientists have also run trials for stem cell implants that enhance cranial regeneration.

Developers like Trimble have developed software that brings 3D modelling technologies to Microsoft HoloLens devices. Though the technologies are not new, they are now being combined by the GMC doctors for creating a modelling method during the process.

A break through

The development project was set in motion by the clinicians after the institution received a 31-year-old male patient who had a fractured eye socket. The doctors partnered with a team from Sheba Medical Center (SMC) to perform a surgery for treating the patient without causing any further damage to his eye. This also presented an opportunity to try out the new surgery process.

The patient was made to undergo CT scans prior to the surgical procedure, and the scans were then used for remaking the eye socket floor’s shape. The doctors were able to utilise this process for creating a three-dimensional skull model. It helped to project the healthy side of the skull to the bone that has been damaged. This led to the precise 3D printing of a custom metal graft.


One of the clinicians had to wear AR glasses during the surgical process, with the glasses being connected to a programme having the skull model and the plate to be inserted. The surgeon could place the AR-based 3D model on the patient’s skull using the HoloLens. It was then being used as a real-time virtual guide throughout the surgery process.

The GMC team could reduce the time necessary for the surgical process to just above an hour by using the holographic method. CT scans were done after the patient recovered, which exhibited that the transplant was successful. After some time, the patient was discharged.

Srouji emphasised that the success of the project depended on the development of the 3D Point of Care by GMC. There have been further attempts to continue 3D experimentation and more experiments are expected in the future.


For more info about the Sheba Medical Center, please check:

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