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Research team earns top honours at international conference

Dr. Vladimir Kratky in front of the reserach group's prize-winning poster.

Four Queen’s University professors earned top honours at the recent conference of the International Society for Computer Aided Surgery in Heidelberg, Germany. The group won the award for best poster detailing a new patient-specific instrument guide designed to make surgery on orbital tumours safer and faster.

Contributing to the research and development of the new patient guide, and to the poster design, were Queen’s professors Manuel Kunz (School of Computing), James Stewart (School of Computing), John Rudan (Surgery) and Vladimir Kratky (Ophthalmology).

“We worked together as a group to design this patient-specific guide,” says Dr. Kunz. “The award has given us additional motivation to continue to move forward with our research.”

Orbital tumours deep within the eye socket have always presented a challenge to surgeons and, at times, an expensive and elaborate set-up was needed for the surgery. Using a 3-D model of the skin surface topography, the new guide was constructed to exactly match the patient’s face.  An arm was integrated into the guide allowing the surgeon precise control of the depth and location of the surgical probe for accurate tumour localization.

The method has several advantages over traditional surgery techniques, including lower cost and ease of use. It was also noted that no critical structures in the face were adversely affected during the surgery and the patient suffered no lasting effects from the procedure.

The group is now moving forward with research on additional cases.