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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 3 (2012), Issue 1, Pages 53-86
Research Article

Surgical Engineering in Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery: A Literature Review

Raphael Olszewski

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Research Lab, Department of oral and maxillofacial surgery, Cliniques universitaires saint Luc, Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium

Received 1 March 2011; Accepted 1 August 2011

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A systematic review of the literature concerning surgical engineering in cranio-maxillofacial surgery was performed. APubMed search yielded 1721 papers published between 1999 and 2011. Based on the inclusion/exclusion criteria, 1428 articles were excluded after review of titles and abstracts. Atotal of 292 articles were finally selected covering the following topics: finite element analysis (n = 18), computer-assisted surgery (n = 111), rapid prototyping models (n = 41), preoperative training simulators (n = 4), surgical guides (n = 23), image-guided navigation (n = 58), augmented reality (n = 2), video tracking (n = 1), distraction osteogenesis (n = 19), robotics (n = 8), and minimal invasive surgery (n = 7). The results show that surgical engineering plays a pivotal role in the development and improvement of cranio-maxillofacial surgery. Some technologies, such as computer-assisted surgery, image-guided navigation, and three-dimensional rapid prototyping models, have reached maturity and allow for multiple clinical applications, while augmented reality, robotics, and endoscopy still need to be improved.