For the first time in Israel, surgeons at Galilee Medical Center Temporomandibular Surgery (surgicalremoval of jaw joints and their replacement with artificial joints) was preformed following conducting the surgery by virtual means a day before the actual operation. Temporomandibular Surgery is considered to be especially complex and challenging and has been performed in Israel rarely in a different manner.

The virtual surgery was done in Galilee Medical Center's three dimensional laboratory, the only such one located in Northern Israel.

The medical team employed the technology of virtual reality to visualize and virtually enact the procedure and explore the difficulties that might arise during the actual surgery.
The next day, the success of the virtual surgery was replicated when the Temporomandibular surgery was performed on a 48 year old female resident of the north.
The patient had suffered severe pain over a number of years which had drastically reduced her quality of life despite the treatments and surgeries that had been performed in other hospitals over the years.

Three years ago, the patient was referred to the
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Galilee Medical Center and was examined by department head, Prof. Samer Srouji, a nationally and internationally recognized expert.After the failure of conventional conservative treatments, Prof. Srouji, who studied at the Baptist Medical Center in Miami, understood the necessity of the complex surgery that had not yet been performed in Israel. The unique and innovative aspect was the decision to employ cutting-edge technology acquired abroad to conduct the virtual surgery prior to the actual operation and customizing the surgical implants with the aid of three dimensional printers.

The complex preparations for the surgery began with meticulous planning and printing of 3 dimensional models of the mouth and face at Galilee Medical Center's laboratory and then printing the implants in the United States. Two teams were involved in the surgery; one executed the virtual surgery and the other performed the actual surgery on the patient. Throughout the actual surgery on the patient, real time computerized models were used to increase the precision and avoid future complications.

Prof. Samer Srouji led the surgical team which included senior surgeons, Dr. Fares Kablan and Dr. Husam Zraik and the department’s residents.
Prof. Srouji emphasized that the preparatory surgery contributed greatly to reducing potential difficulties and even helped provide the need for a shorter recuperation period.

Galilee Medical Center's CEO, Dr. Masad Barhoum, said, “Galilee Medical Center aims to provide our community with the optimal integration of new and cutting edge medical technologies in a wide range of surgical disciplines. I congratulate Prof. Srouji and his team on performing this procedure in this manner for the first time in Israel which will open the path for additional medical teams to gain experience and expertise using and advancing virtual technology to better serve patients."

Photo: Roni Albert