Systematic review of the software used for virtual surgical planning in craniomaxillofacial surgery over the last decade

Published:December 05, 2022DOI:


      Craniomaxillofacial surgery has been experiencing a deep conceptual change in surgical planning over the last decade, with virtual reality technologies becoming widely adopted. The high demand has led to an exponential increase in available software. The aim of this review was to outline the current literature and provide evidence on the most used software for virtual surgical planning (VSP), and also to define contemporary knowledge on which procedures are more ready candidates for VSP. A search was performed in the major databases, and screening of the results according to the PRISMA statement identified 535 articles reporting the implementation of preoperative VSP during the years 2010–2020. A total of 77 different software programs were identified. The surgical procedures were assigned a standardized nomenclature and further simplified into 10 categories for analysis: temporomandibular joint (TMJ), implants (IMPL), malformations (MALF), reconstruction (REC), oncology (ONCO), oral surgery (ORAL), orthognathic surgery (ORTH), cranial surgery (CRANIO), trauma (TRAUMA), miscellaneous (OTHER). The journals they were reported in and the sample size of each study were also investigated. The results showed that the Materialise suite was the most widespread tool for VSP, with a prevalence of 36.3%, followed by the Geomagic family. Several packages were found to be associated with a specific type of surgical procedure. This review offers a synopsis of the array of VSP software reported in the literature and sets the basis for an informed, evidence-based use of this software in craniomaxillofacial surgery.


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