Segmenting an Airway???

Part of the cool thing about my job now is I get paid to sit around and brainstorm ways to stretch the applications of our current technologies.  This is a great example of that.  I don’t necessarily know all the implications of this yet but I’m certain that going forward there will be many.

One of the big areas of growth in dentistry right now is sleep apnea.  To be honest, it was never a big interest of mine as I was more into the blood and surgical treatments.  However, one day as I was segmenting the jaw in Blue Sky Plan, I happened upon this technique and decided to just see what I could do with it.

The result was that I could turn all the air spaces withing the head into an STL model.  So why does it matter?  Well, I’m not entirely sure yet but I could foresee that this may be used in the future for evaluating anatomic anomilies that put patients at risk for sleep apnea.  I could imagine that ENT’s would find this useful in diagnosing constrictions in the airways or even cancers impinging on the airways.   If nothing else, I can imagine that it would be a valuable tool for helping patients to evaluate what’s going on in their airways and why it may be necessary to treat their sleep apnea.

If you are dorky enough to watch this video, I hope you’ll weigh in on the comments and perhaps discuss some potential applications for this.  It would not be a difficult thing to automate within the software if we decide that it is worth doing.

What do you think?!

One Reply to “Segmenting an Airway???”

  1. Wow!! I’m a newbie to meshmixer and about two weeks away from purchasing a 3D printer for my dental office. One of the 3D technology sales reps gave me a link to your website and I stumbled upon this Segmented Airway video. I am a general dentist practicing in Hattiesburg, MS, and have been working with The Healthy Start Functional Orthodontics System for about 9 months. If you are not familiar, it is intended to recognize and ultimately treat airway problems in children from as early as the toddler age. Being able to visualize and possibly print an airway that can be used to help come up with the best multidisciplinary treatment plan after communicating with the child’s parents, pediatrician and/or ENT, is priceless!! You are certainly on to something here.

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