Research progress to date

Face Value team
Thanks to the Face Value appeal, the world-class Craniofacial team at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) have now established an ambitious five-year clinical research programme.

The programme will lead to new techniques and devices to improve the precision of craniofacial surgery. The team are already making great strides in their research.

Pioneering new devices for craniofacial surgery

Over the last three years our surgical team has been using special stainless steel ‘springs’ to help adjust the position of a malformed skull. 

Thanks to the results from the research programme so far, the Face Value team has already designed a new version of the stainless steel spring. As a result of their work and partnership with a medical device manufacturer, the technology is now already being used in seven other clinical centres.

The team is also working towards a further refinement using a ‘shape memory’ alloy – a special metal used in BMW gear boxes. This will dramatically improve the precision of surgery for children with these conditions.

Rather than doing these major operations, we can do it in a less invasive way. Instead of taking the whole skull apart, you just make an opening in it, implant a metal spring and like a clam shell the springs do the work for you. It’s a much smaller operation and gives much better results aesthetically and functionally.

Mr Owase Jeelani, Consultant Paediatric Neurosurgeon

Improving the accuracy and safety of craniofacial surgery

A database of 12,000 faces has been gathered in conjunction with the Science Museum. This is the largest database of face shapes in the world. 

The ‘Me in 3D’ exhibition was an exciting public event to help researchers try to understand the complex differences that make up everyone’s unique facial shape. The database is now supporting new developments in high precision surgery for craniofacial patients.

We need to understand how people with syndromic craniosynostosis differ from those who don’t. In terms of how we plan surgery, we need to be able to quantify that.

Mr David Dunaway, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Looking to the future

The team will continue progressing forwards over the next four years and beyond, using the data they have collected and devices they have pioneered to help children across Europe and the world. 

At the moment the information we’ve gathered is only available to us at Great Ormond Street Hospital, but we would like to share this with clinicians internationally. So we’re trying to develop a web-based database to help surgical planning across the world.

Mr David Dunaway, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon