Towards virtual surgery in oral cancer to predict postoperative oral functions preoperatively

M.J.A. van Alphen, A.M. Kreeft, Ferdinand van der Heijden, L.E. Smeele, A.J.M. Balm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Our aim was to develop a dynamic virtual model of the oral cavity and oropharynx so that we could incorporate patient-specific factors into the prediction of functional loss after advanced resections for oral cancer. After a virtual resection, functional consequences can be assessed, and a more substantiated decision about treatment can be made. In this study we used a finite element model of the tongue, which can be implemented in the total virtual environment in the future. We analysed the movements and changes in volume, and the effects of changes in the material variables, to mimic scar tissue. The observed movements were in accordance with descriptions of in vivo movements. Affected movements caused by the mimicked scar tissue were also similar to expectations. Some changes in volume were measured, particularly in individual elements. We have taken the first steps in the development of a finite element model of the tongue. Now, refinement is necessary to make the model suitable for future use in virtual surgery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-751
Number of pages5
JournalBritish journal of oral and maxillofacial surgery
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Oral cavity
  • Prognosis
  • Computer simulation
  • Oral cancer
  • Finite element analysis (FEA)
  • Surgery


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