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Stony Brook Surgeons Reconstruct Baby’s Skull using 3D Printing, Baby Celebrates First Christmas

Bono Family
Drs. Elliot Duboys and Michael Egnor of Stony Brook Medicine with the Bono Family, less than a month after six-month old Vincent underwent Metopic Synostosis surgery.  

Stony Brook, NY, December 26, 2016 -- Mark and Nicole Bono never imaged that their beautiful baby boy would be undergoing head surgery at just six months old. When there was no change in baby Vincent’s triangular-shaped forehead at two months, Drs. Michael Egnor and Elliot Duboys of Stony Brook Medicine explained a new, innovative procedure for craniosynostosis that benefits from the use of 3D printing technology.  

Vincent was born with Metopic Synostosis, a type of Craniosynostosis, which results in a prominent ridge along the forehead caused by a premature fusion of the suture -- the seams where the ‘plates’ of bone in the skull join -- in the middle of the forehead.  Approximately 1 in 15,000 babies are born with Metopic Synostosis, with a 3:1 male:female ratio.

Egnor
Dr. Michael Egnor, director of pediatric neurosurgery at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital

“Surgery is needed to correct these types of condition to allow the brain to grow and develop to its fullest potential,” said Dr. Michael Egnor, director of pediatric neurosurgery at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.  Some potential risks of craniosynostosis may include: developmental delays, cognitive impairment, lethargy, blindness, eye movement disorders and seizures.  

Through a collaboration with Medical Modeling Inc. in Golden, Colo., Dr. Egnor and Dr. Elliot Duboys,  associate professor of surgery at Stony Brook Medicine, were able to virtually plan the entire surgery beforehand.  Additionally, the company created 3D printed before-and-after models of Vincent’s skull for the surgeons, so they could accurately predict how the operation’s results would look.

After the diagnosis, the doctors take a CT scan of the baby’s head then share it with the 3D printing company. “Using a computer program, the company simulated the baby’s skull with the symmetry and dimensions it should have,” said Dr. Duboys.  “Then they manufactured these templates and sent them to us at Stony Brook, so we have the exact measurements.”

Knowing exactly how the skull should look after the procedure, 6-month-old Vincent was brought in for surgery on November 28, and placed him under anesthesia.  In order to get to the deformed bone, the surgeons made an incision across the top of Vincent’s forehead, exposing the entire front of the skull and eye sockets.

Through the use of a special tools, the surgeons removed four pieces of deformed bone and made special cuts in the skull to help reshape and restructure the baby’s head.  In an attempt to make the remodeling more precise, Egnor and Duboys utilized the 3D printed templates provided by Medical Modeling, which helped to highlight where the surgeons needed to make their incisions.

Both Egnor and Duboys said the 3D modeling technology helped to cut down on the length of the procedure, which meant Vincent spent far less time under anesthesia than during traditional surgery.  They hope more surgeons will utilize this 3D imaging and modeling to perform reconstructive surgeries in the future.

About Stony Brook Children’s Hospital

With 104 beds, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital is Suffolk County’s only children’s hospital. More than 8,000 children and young adults are discharged each year. Stony Brook Children’s has more than 160 pediatric specialists in over 30 specialties. The hospital is Suffolk County’s only Level 4 Regional Perinatal Center and has a Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It is home to the nation’s first Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center and also offers a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program, Pediatric Cardiology Program, Pediatric HIV and AIDS Center, and Cystic Fibrosis Center. To learn more, visit www.stonybrookchildrens.org .