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A medical sojourn

February 2, 2016

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Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn, a clinician-scientist and plastic surgeon in the Trauma, Emergency and Critical Care Research Program at Sunnybrook Research Institute, has dedicated his career to reconstructing deformed and damaged skulls, jaws and faces in patients with acquired or congenital malformations.

Leading a team of Canadian medical professionals, Antonyshyn traveled to Ukraine for the third time in late October last year to provide specialized post-traumatic reconstructive surgeries that would have been otherwise unavailable to the military and civilians injured in the recent conflict.

The medical team was comprised of 25 volunteers—all of whom are practising surgeons, anesthetists, and nurses from across Canada.

During the weeklong visit, the team treated patients with facial and upper extremity trauma, post-traumatic craniofacial deformities, soft tissue defects and scars, and upper extremity disorders. The group also promoted surgical education by engaging with local medical professionals and training them to treat injuries and post-traumatic deformities going forward.

Antonyshyn’s research focuses on the development and direct clinical application of imaging and rapid prototyping technologies in the planning, execution and morphological outcome analysis of facial reconstructive procedures. A lack of customized treatment options led Antonyshyn to collaborate with physicists and engineers to invent a technology that allows surgeons to do custom forming of reconstructive materials such as meshes and alloplastics before starting surgery. The technology led to a spinoff company, Calavera Surgical Design. Surgeons can use the portable device intraoperatively to shape any sheet of implantable material into a precise 3-D shape that optimally restores the patient’s anatomy; they can even make needed refinements during surgery.

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Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn