Regenerative Medicine Utrecht


Toine Rosenberg appointed new professor in 3D imaging and bone grafting in maxillofacial surgery

The developments in the field of regenerative medicine have contributed highly to clinical applications in maxillofacial surgery. A few years ago, a method has been developed by UMC Utrecht to fix small defects with artificial bone. This artificial bone is made of beta-tricalcium phosphate, a substance that is found in our bones, but which can also attract bone-forming stem cells. Small defects, such as a cleft palate in schisis can be perfectly filled. “Patients from all over the country come here for this treatment,” says prof. Rosenberg. Unfortunately, this method does not work for larger defects. “That is because the artificial bone does not contain blood vessels, which is not a problem for a smaller piece of bone.  However, larger bones can get infected with serious consequences. Within the strategic program Regenerative Medicine & Stem Cells we are working on the development of the growth of a network of blood vessels in which bone can grow. A promising development, which is not yet clinically applicable. For the time being, in case of larger defects we still use the patient’s own tissue, i.e. bone from the fibula or pelvis. But everyone can understand that removing a piece of these bones also has disadvantages. ”

Use each other’s innovations

Prof. Rosenberg is also proud of the 3D facelab of the department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery & Special Dental Care. In this laboratory, a combination of a 3D photography of the face and a CT-scan ensures that preparation of an operation by digital means can be much more precizse and the results will be more accurate. In addition, the effect of a reconstruction on a person’s appearance are much more predictable. “Of course, this is very important, especially for the face. Now you can digitally puzzle first until you have the desired result before you actually get started with the surgery.”

In addition, the 3D lab can also be used in other areas, such as orthopedics, neurosurgery and traumatology. “We currently use each other’s innovations too little. Let’s share new techniques with each other instead of re-inventing the wheel. That’s what I’m going to put effort into for the next years.”