CBCT is a powerful technology for imaging both hard and soft tissue and is routinely used in craniofacial reconstruction surgeries. However, the technology has some drawbacks such as difficulty in acquiring clear images due to movement of the area of interest caused by patient respiration. Further, CBCT requires a 360-degree image and thus a gantry movement that takes time and exposes the patient to an increased radiation dose. Movement of the patient during this time may result in a useless image, leading to a second try and additional radiation exposure. If imaging technicians could better ensure that the image area were to stay fixed, they could conduct scans more quickly with better quality and lower radiation exposure to the patient.
Navy researchers have developed a head positioning device for properly aligning and localizing a patient’s head and facial expression for procedures using CBCT or single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). The device is shown in the figure and is adjustable in multiple directions based on the area of interest. A biteplate attachment (distal end of [G]) provides a means to maintain constant distance between the teeth and assists in fixing the subject’s facial expression. Fixed facial expression is necessary for registration of post-CBCT photographs, or three-dimensional scans. The device interfaces with imaging systems from different manufacturers.
- Overcomes problems associated with other fixation devices like a chin cup, head strap, or universal bite tab, which can distort the face or inadequately fix the area of interest
- Ensures higher-quality images with less potential to re-image the patient
- Repeatable fixation opens the door to the practice of pre-trauma scanning of high-risk populations (military service personnel), for post-trauma comparison for accurate reconstruction surgery
- US patent 9,456,792 available for license
- Potential for collaboration with Navy researchers