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Flapp: A Platform for 3D Local Soft-tissue Flap Design for Facial Reconstructive Surgery

Team Members:
  • Doran Walsten
  • BaDoi Phan
  • Kendrick Hougen
  • Kyoung-A Cho
  • Ron Boger
  • Kevin Zhu
  • Patrick Myers
  • Teja Polisetty
  • Nicholas Mahoney, MD
  • Nicholas Durr, PhD
  • Patrick Byrne, MD
  • Austin Reiter, PhD
  • Alison Wong, MD
  • Ben Kutil


Flapp is a mobile computer-assisted surgery application that will help surgeons create and plan local tissue flaps in facial reconstructive surgery. Local tissue flaps are a common method to close an open wound on the face. During the procedure, skin near the wound is incised and then repositioned to cover and repair the defect site. When properly done, the defect repair is close to unnoticeable. However, the consequences of improperly designing a flap can lead to severe medical and aesthetic complications. Local tissue flap design requires a great wealth of medical information, surgical expertise, and case-by-case consideration on the surgeon’s part, thus making it a challenging procedure for surgeons.

flapp provides an interface for surgeons to view multiple flap designs on a 3D reconstructed image of a specific patient. The 3D surface represents an improved shape and geometry of the face compared to a traditional 2D image. For a chosen design, flapp would provide tension and strain feedback. The surgeon can then make edits to the design based on this feedback and improve the outcome their procedure. These features allow surgeons to determine the flap that would result in minimal medical and aesthetic complications.

Technological tools are currently available and in development for assistance in surgery, but are not implemented for the design of local soft tissue flaps. These tools implement features that are useful to flap design, such as patient specificity, 3D imaging, mobility, and skin tension feedback. However, no one technology integratesall of these features together. flapp has the potential combine these features onto one platform and be a useful tool to help surgeons make informed decisions on flap designs. Novice and inexperienced surgeons will be able to quickly learn how to make challenging flap-design decisions that currently require many years of operating experience to grasp and master. The ultimate goals of flapp are to raise the quality of life for patients following surgery, assist in the training of surgeons, and reduce the logistical burden on surgeons performing flap surgeries.

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