Each year, several hundred thousand people in the United States undergo rhinoplasties, or, as they’re more commonly known, nose jobs. Why are these procedures so common? It’s understandable, in a way – the nose is the central feature of the face, and if a person truly dislikes his or her nose, it can be hard to move past. Of course, injury and certain breathing disorders add to the list of patients seeking these corrections as well. There are plenty of plastic surgeons who are happy to help, and who spend a great deal of time studying the aesthetics and characteristics of the human nose. Recently, Dr. Hernan Chinski, MD and product developer Ricardo Lerch created a new product that leverages 3D printing and 3D software to help surgeons better study and understand the shape and proportions of the nose.
Dr. Chinski and Lerch started by determining what exactly is considered the “ideal” nose. They agreed upon several factors: the nose should work with the rest of the face, obviously, and should have a length to projection ratio of 3:2. The tip should neither be too bulbous nor too narrow.
“The discussion is always present on whether beauty is a single, or whether it is something objectifiable,” Dr. Chinski points out. “We have used universally accepted criteria as nasal beauty, meaning, those noses having certain proportions and relationships are interpreted by most people as more attractive.”
Using those proportions and relationships, Dr. Chinski and Lerch used Sculptris to design a 3D model of an aesthetically pleasing nose, then 3D printed the model using an open source 3D printer.
“Our challenges were complex,” Dr. Chinski continues. “When it comes to the shape of the nose, every millimeter counts. 3D print settings had to be adjusted, in order to fulfill in shape and texture with fidelity our 3D computer model. Nozzle overheat, material over cooling, could generate subtle deformations. Finally after many tests we found the right materials and ideal adjustments in order to make our first impressions look good.”
Once they had completed a 3D print of an ideal nose, the two then set about to create several other models, this time of common noses that many consider less than ideal. They selected the five most common types of noses that people request surgical modifications to:
Again, there were several challenges at this stage of the process, including designs that looked good on the screen but not so great when they were actually 3D printed. Finally, though, Lerch and Dr. Chinski had a total of six 3D printed nose models that could be used in rhinoplasty doctors’ offices for the benefit of both the doctor and the patient. Doctors can study the models to get a better feel for anatomy and proportions, and patients can examine the models to get a better look at features closely resembling their own, as well as get an idea of what a reshaped nose might look like on their face. The models allow patients to better visualize the changes that surgery will provide.
The next goal is to create 3D printed models for surgical training purposes, designing and 3D printing not just the outer shape of the nose but the cartilage and bones as well. You can learn more about the product here, or read a full article by Dr. Chinski (in Spanish) here. If you’re a surgeon in the US, you can buy a full set for $300 from Anthony Products, Inc. Discuss in the Rhinoplasty forum at 3DPB.com.[Images provided by Ricardo Lerch]
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