Medical researchers at Ohio State University Wexner School of Medicine are attempting to reduce complications that arise after surgery for chronic sinusitis. The condition affects as many as 30% of US adults, with an estimated annual healthcare expenditure of $6 billion. Although these complications are somewhat rare, they usually result in irreversible damage that can have a substantial impact on the lives of patients.
The team, led by Kai Zhao, PhD, an engineer and associate professor at OSU, is using the principles of fluid dynamics to develop sophisticated computer programs that will be used to create virtual surgery simulations for the operating physicians. These software-based surgeries will then be replicated on extremely detailed physical models of each patient’s sinus passageways in the hopes of further reducing the possibility of complications post-surgery. The results of the operation on the 3D model can then be analyzed to determine outcomes before a patient schedules their surgery.