3D Imaging and Surgery
When it comes to cleft lip and palate surgery 3D imaging is improving the odds of a successful outcome by allowing surgeons to perform a “virtual” surgery before bringing the child to the operating room. If your child has a cleft lip and/or palate that will require a complex surgery gathering the 3D images is just one part of the process in getting ready for surgery.
3D images are gathered using:
- CT scans – a multi-layered x-ray that allows the doctor to see soft tissue and other structures, in addition to the bone.
- MRI – magnetic resonance imaging, which uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within the body that can be viewed from any angle.
Some of the things the cleft lip and palate team will be looking at while planning the surgery include:
- Number and orientation of teeth.
- Dental and skeletal age.
- Amount and quality of bone in the cleft region.
- Incidence and number of missing teeth.
These 3D images are used with sophisticated software that allows the cleft lip and palate team to see the child’s face, and bone and tissue structures before the surgery and “after.” Any potential problems in completing the surgery can be worked out prior to the actual procedure, and various modeling techniques allow the team to preview not only the physical integrity of the outcome, but also how the child’s face will look.
Depending on the severity of your child’s case, the overall treatment plan may include surgery, speech therapy and dental/orthodontic treatment. Shriners Hospitals for Children® cleft lip and palate teams include multiple specialists in surgery, dentistry, orthodontics and radiology who will work closely together and with you to determine your child’s needs and the treatment need to produce the best possible outcome.