Isobel Leason

  • Award made January 2020

Isobel Leason, 5th year Product Design Engineering

Around 3500 patients undergo a form of orthognathic (jaw) surgery in UK each year. One of the challenges following orthognathic surgery is bone healing at the surgery site; this usually takes around 6 weeks. During recovery patients are unable to eat or speak properly and suffer from acute pain and swelling, the combination of which has a significant psychological effect.

It has been shown that application of LIPUS (low intensity pulsed ultrasound) to surgical sites speeds up bone healing and reduces pain and swelling after orthognathic surgery. Isobel proposes to incorporate LIPUS into a mask, which will be worn for 20 minutes daily for 3 weeks after surgery, resulting in reduced recovery time and improved patient experience. The mask will be a custom fit to the patient and their surgical plan.

Isobel is collaborating with Glasgow Dental School to translate virtual orthognathic surgical plans into custom fit masks using generative design software. The mask will be 3D printed, and will contain removable transducer modules, enabling them to be reused in other patients’ masks.

The main cost is the design and manufacture of the ultrasound transducers. The dimensions and arrangement of piezoelectric ceramics needs to be explored and tested in order to find the most effective solution for the face, and Isobel plans to explore different material options for pads to give good contact with the skin.