SLS technology helps Surgeons change faces

Press Release: 12 April, 2011

Formero’s Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) Technology

The world renowned Australian Craniofacial Unit and the Cranio-Maxillo Facial Foundation, led by Professor David J David AC and his team, has been recognised as a Centre of Excellence in treating over 16,000 patients with craniofacial deformities over the last 35 years.

Formero was approached by the Australian Craniofacial Unit at the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide
to produce a medical model of a patients skull.  Model skulls created from CT scans have proven essential in pre-surgical preparations, allowing the surgical team to plan exactly what needs to be done before the patient enters the operating theatre.   

Taking up the challenge, Formero's Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) team's first hurdle was to translate the many
2D images to a single 3D file, this required significant research.  Traditionally, the process of converting CT Scans would take considerable time, but with Formero’s advanced techniques print ready CAD data and SLS models were produced in days, instead of weeks.  

The processes and technology has now progressed to a point where Formero's SLS Models have become a critical reference for hospitals and surgeries.  Upon receiving the data, the 2D Images are extracted, ordered and passed through Formero's medical imaging software.  A technician then makes a calculation for relative tissue density and segments the required tissue into its own 3D Model, its geometry based on "real world' parameters that were set with the scan itself.  The Skull is then fabricated by one of Formero's SLS machines under expert supervision by their experienced staff.

SLS technology allows for unlimited complexity, internal and external.  The tough nylon takes the rigors of surgical planning, testing and cutting admirably, and also imparts a slight light diffusive quality to the part, much in the way real bone does. Most importantly, it allows for a rapid response to a time critical event.

To see a video of SLS in action click here:  or visit Australian Craniofacial website: