In the past, surgery to remove temporomandibular joints and replace them with artificial joints was considered a complex and complicated operation with only isolated cases being performed in Israel.
This article was first published in the Jerusalem Post on March 10th, 2019. In the only 3D laboratory in the North of Israel, which operates at the Galilee Medical Center, an analysis was carried out for the first time in Israel by a medical team using virtual reality surgery, in which it imagined possible procedures and difficulties that might occur in the surgery itself.
A day later, the success of the virtual operation was implemented in a 48-year-old patient from the North who suffered from severe pain in her jaw joints due to osteoarthritis, which limited her mouth opening and severely impaired her quality of life. Over the years she underwent several surgeries at other medical centers, but these were unsuccessful.
Preparations for the complex operation began with meticulous planning and printing of 3D models of her jaw and face in the 3D laboratory of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department, and printing the implants in the United States. In this case, it was decided that the team would carry out a preliminary, virtual operation by means of software purchased from abroad and is considered to be the most advanced in its field.
The operation was carried out by two teams, a team that operated on the computerized models and a team that operated on the patient. At each stage of the operation, the teams broadcasted in real time the position and direction of the implants, which increased the accuracy in the operation and prevention of future complications. The surgery was performed by the department’s director, Prof. Samer Srouji, senior physicians Dr. Fares Kablan and Dr. Hussam Zerik, and other department specialists.
The surgery was successful and went without complications, and a significant improvement in the patient’s quality of life is expected in the near future. Srouji stressed that the preliminary operation greatly helped reduce possible difficulties and also helped provide a solution that will enable the patient to recover faster from the surgery.
“The Galilee Medical Center aims to integrate the best new technologies in the world in a variety of surgical fields,” said Galilee Medical Center director, Dr. Masad Barhoum.