The maxillofacial surgery is a complex surgical procedure to correct facial malformations located in the head of the patient. A precise and reliable surgical planning is necessary for a successful maxillofacial surgical procedure. The experience and clinical practice of surgeons play a very important role during the surgical procedures. Modern Computer Aided Systems (CAS) have been developed in order to speed up the surgical planning process and to increase the accuracy and reliability of the surgical procedure. However, CAS systems have not been focused on their ability to train and to provide experience and clinical practice to novice surgeons or medical student. In this way CAS systems could be a potential tool to improve the skill of surgeons in order to decrease human errors in the maxillofacial treatment and surgical procedures.

This paper presents an investigation to evaluate the use of virtual reality and haptic systems as a training tool for maxillofacial surgeries, in particular osteotomies procedures. The aim is to evaluate the effect of virtual training on surgeon skills. Thus, a virtual osteotomy system has been developed and is presented. The system is based on an open source computer and programming resources, and makes use of haptic technologies to provide the users with the sense of touch. The virtual osteotomy procedures implemented are based on current surgical orthognathic surgery procedures. Free-form 3D manual cutting of bone is available in the system by means of the haptic device and the force feedback provided to the user, which increases the level of realism of the virtual procedure. The evaluation results show that the haptic-enabled virtual training of osteotomies increases the psychomotor skills of the practitioner, leading to an improved accuracy when carrying out the actual bone cut.

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