Oral and maxillofacial surgery has long needed a methodology for accurate definition of the third dimension. The introduction of computer aided radiotomography in the 1970s provided surgeons with multiple two-dimensional maps of information, which they themselves had to conceptualize into third dimension. The later advent of computerized summation of these data made it possible to display a perspective view of the third dimension on a monitor. Computerized tomography (CT) and--in part--magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) data with the further analytic refinement afforded by contour summation visualization, model fabrication and surgical planning allow for extensive and methodical preoperative planning. Additionally, three-dimensional models of bony structures can now be made available for the planning and performance of oral and maxillofacial surgical procedures on the facial skeleton. These models, which can be milled from a variety of materials, allow surgeons the opportunity to study the bony structures of a patient outside of the body and to manipulate their shape as required to achieve a desired result. Models permit a measurement of structures, the testing of osteotomic and resection techniques, and complete planning for almost all types of oral and maxillofacial surgery. In addition to applications in preprosthetic and tumor surgery, three-dimensional modeling can assist in surgical correction of malocclusion and congenital deformities. In traumatology, however, its applications in primary care are limited due to time constraints. The future potential of modeling justifies continued expense of labor and cost, and the manufacture of models for three-dimensional surgical planning will shorten the time required for surgical procedures in oral and maxillofacial surgery.
160pp: 288 illus (220 in color)