Patients with conditions including protruding lower jaw (underbite), receding lower jaw (overbite) and facial asymmetry not only have difficulty chewing properly but also get a lot of stares at a young age. When they think about undergoing orthognathic surgeries to treat these conditions, they are hesitant because of post-operative care challenges and a long recovery period which may keep them away from normal work and life.
To shorten the recovery period for orthognathic surgery patients, Charm United Institute has introduced digital technology solutions which help surgeons design a digital surgical plan prior to performing the operation. Then, the surgical procedures can go as planned with the surgical tools working in consonance during the operation.
Thinking from the patient's perspective
"Charm United Institute has always operated on a people-first principle to provide whole-hearted care for patients," says Dr. Ming-Ji Hsieh, surgeon, Charm United Institute. During his years of clinical practice, he often ponders on how to accelerate patients' recovery and raise patients' level of comfort on top of ensuring good surgical outcomes.
As a matter of fact, the amount of time an orthognathic surgery takes has a direct influence on the patient's level of comfort during post-operative recovery. As such, efforts toward improving medical care quality have been focused on finding ways to enhance surgical precision and shorten surgical time.
Dr. Hsieh explains that orthognathic surgeries demand a high level of precision. Multiple factors including dental occlusion, facial symmetry and even the effects on pharyngeal airway and respiratory function must be taken into consideration during the operation.
The incorporation of digital technologies enables surgeons to significantly cut the surgical time of eight to nine hours down to three to four hours, which in turn largely shortens patients' recovery period. More than that, surgical precision is enhanced to give patients ideal face proportions and symmetry.
Dr. Hsieh also notes that Charm United Institute could not have incorporated digital technologies in their orthognathic surgeries without the help from a strong technical support team. Charm United Institute's partner AccuroDesign built a Microsoft Azure Stack Edge hybrid cloud platform to allow quick access to large amounts of patient data while ensuring patient confidentiality with Microsoft's cryptographic solution.
Pre-introduction communication is essential
You may think the incorporation of digital technologies into orthognathic surgeries simply means to install a set of software programs in the computer. In fact, according to Dr. Hsieh, clinic staff and design engineers engage in back-and-forth communication to correct the surgical plans to perfection so that 3D printings of auxiliary surgical tools can be produced to deliver flawless surgical outcomes for patients.
Leveraging advantages of the Azure Stack Edge hybrid cloud platform, AccuroDesign helps Charm United Institute create pre-operation plans tailored to each patient. Every patient has unique physical characteristics and bone structures so only customized services will deliver on-target results.
During the process of collaboration, Charm United Institute first provides image files to AccuroDesign via remote data transfer and communicates the needs of the surgeon and patient to AccuroDesign via messaging software. Based on the information, AccuroDesign will begin pre-planning work.
AccuroDesign uses a certified medical-grade software program to communicate with the surgeon and patient on the planning and design. Back-and-forth exchanges of files and confirmations on the surgical plan are often needed until AccuroDesign is able to help the surgeon complete the model and auxiliary tool designs and finally produce the 3D printings.
With 3D additive manufacturing, there is no need to create a mold so customization can be done in a snap to help the surgeon build suitable surgical tools and complete the operation safely, precisely and as quickly as possible.
Azure Stack Edge hybrid cloud platform guarantees security and reliability
According to Arpan Shah, general manager, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft has long been helping enterprises meet their digital transformation needs whether they choose on-premise or cloud solutions. Joining efforts with enterprise customers, Microsoft drives innovative applications based on a secure hybrid cloud platform. Microsoft is glad that the collaboration with AccuroDesign and Charm United Institute brings innovative technologies to the operating room to provide better care for patients and accelerate digital transformation for the healthcare sector.
As an industry-leading platform, Azure Stack Edge combines the advantages of edge computing, AI, smart storage and container-based hybrid cloud. It perfectly fits AccuroDesign's and its customers' needs for a secure and easy-to-use smart storage solution, according to AccuroDesign. Azure Stack Edge is exactly what today's applications need.
If data exchanges between AccuroDesign and Charm United Institute were to be conducted on traditional storage media such as CD-ROMs or USB drives, which have to be physically transported, the process would be too time-consuming and cost-ineffective to meet Charm United Institute's urgent needs. On top of that, as the design and planning process requires a great deal of back-and-forth communication between AccuroDesign and Charm United Institute, being able to eliminate physical transport saves tremendous time and effort and significantly boosts efficiency.
Successful use case
A real use case demonstrates the results of applying digital technologies in preoperative preparation. A patient who underwent an orthognathic surgery at Charm United Institute expressed how she used to be too scared to go for the surgery.
The patient was hesitant because she had to work and care for her children and was worried that the recovery period would keep her away from her normal life for too long. After she consulted Charm United Institute, she found out the use of digital technologies significantly shortens the recovery period and reduces pain levels.
"Charm United Institute incorporates digital technologies into orthognathic surgeries so that the recovery period can be greatly shortened," says the patient. Not only that, the patient was able to attend to her career and children as she was recovering after the surgery.
Having her underbite problem fixed, the patient now constantly wears a smile and actively strikes up conversations. She even has no more acid reflux after the orthognathic surgery. She has found confidence in herself and likes what she sees in the mirror now, saying so happily in conclusion.
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