Abstract

Computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology has improved the functional and morphological results of mandibular reconstructive surgery. The purpose of this study was to objectively assess this technology and factors affecting its accuracy. Fibula free flap mandibular reconstruction was performed in 26 cases using CAD/CAM technology at the Maxillofacial Unit of Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, between June 2014 and February 2018. We evaluated the technology’s accuracy by comparing the virtual surgical planning STL file (planned-target mesh) with the STL file from an early postoperative CT scan (postoperative- achievement mesh) in each case. The STL files were imported into Geomagic Studio 2016 (Geomagic GmbH). According to the position of the reconstruction plate (fixed reference point), we assessed deviations at the right condyle, right gonion, gnathion, left gonion and left condyle, calculating mean, minimum and maximum error values. Mean error values ranged from 0.6 to 2.2 mm; they were ≥ 2 mm in only 2 (7.7%) cases. The midline area (symphysis-gnathion) showed the least variation (1.05 ± 0.92 mm), and the gonion area showed the greatest variation (right and left means of 1.6 and 1.46 mm, respectively). Among all possible factors that could affect CAD\CAM accuracy, nothing showed significant influence, including the timing of reconstruction, site and size of the defect and malignancy status. CAD/CAM technology has a high degree of accuracy and reproducibility for microvascular reconstruction of mandibular defects using fibula free flaps, regardless of the defect site and length, use of a single- or double-barrel graft or timing of reconstruction.