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FIGURES: an Equipex in the field of reparatory surgery

The ‘excel­lence’ equip­ment FIGURES (Facing Faces Ins­ti­tute GUi­ding RESearch), was selec­ted in the first round of lau­reates to receive fun­ding under the French Govern­ment inven­tive pro­gramme “Invest­ments for the Future” – FIGURES is a plat­form for research and spe­ci­fi­cal­ly orien­ted to face surgery.


The objec­tive is limi­ted to face and cepha­lic sur­ge­ry. The scope of research and action, with nume­rous part­ners goes far beyond just the sur­gi­cal aspects. For example, it is inten­ded to improve ana­ly­sis of face sur­face and volumes, or to assist the surgeon's hand using robot gui­dance. Moreo­ver, research is car­ried out in res­pect to graft tole­rance fac­tors, deve­lop­ment of bio-sub­sti­tutes and inserts, and taking into account func­tion-rela­ted issues such as loss of sen­sa­tion, lan­guage pro­blems, self-per­cep­tion. Stu­dies also address ethi­cal issues.

The objec­tive of the plat­form is to improve on research efforts and to encou­rage inno­va­tions in expe­ri­men­tal micro-sur­ge­ry pro­to­cols and prac­tice. Use will be made of mor­pho­lo­gi­cal and func­tio­nal ima­ging which will prove fun­da­men­tal to assess­ment and imple­men­ta­tion in terms of face recons­truc­tion or graft sur­ge­ry. Results will be made avai­lable to the local, natio­nal, scien­ti­fic com­mu­ni­ties and will bol­ster the inter­na­tio­nal lea­der­ship acqui­red by this maxil­lo-facial team of sur­geons. FIGURES will also enable the imple­men­ta­tion of trai­ning modules via a com­bi­ned real case and vir­tual model approach.

Project patrons

The prime ope­ra­tor is the tea­ching hos­pi­tal (CHU) at Amiens, the pro­ject being coor­di­na­ted at UTC level by scien­tists wor­king at the UTC-BMBI Labo­ra­to­ry (Bio-mecha­nics and Bio-engi­nee­ring). "Our skills are rele­vant to car­ry out plu­ri­dis­ci­pli­na­ry research with the cli­ni­cal experts as to the conse­quences of dis­fi­gu­ra­tion or a graft ope­ra­tion in maxil­lo-facial sur­ge­ry", confirms Marie-Chris­tine Ho-Ba-Tho, Direc­tor of the UTC-BMBI Labo­ra­to­ry. "Two of our research teams are engage in natio­nal and regio­nal level pro­grammes in the field of tis­sue engi­nee­ring to be used for bone recons­truc­tion and bio-mecha­ni­cal sub­sti­tu­tion, such as face move­ment model­ling, desi­gn and assess­ment for face pros­the­tics and other inserts, not for­get­ting the per­cep­tion of faces and their expres­sion".

Plu­ri­dis­ci­pli­na­ry in nature, the work is sha­red with two other UTC labo­ra­to­ries. UTC-Rober­val (mecha­ni­cal engi­nee­ring) is wor­king on quan­ti­ta­tive facial metro­lo­gy, such as nee­ded to assess facial mimi­cry. In the long term, a 4D model (i.e., inclu­ding time) will be used for skin layer muscles as one of the research areas to be explo­red. In social sciences, the UTC-COSTECH Lab is pro­po­sing to explore the capa­ci­ty of a human being to change per­cep­tion-wise our vision of dis­fi­gu­red persons.

The first scien­ti­fic results obtai­ned relate to per­so­na­li­zed model­ling of face muscles that com­mand our capa­ci­ty to mimic (smi­ling, for example) using medi­cal ima­ging. As a paral­lel move, the scien­tists deve­lo­ped and imple­men­ted facial move­ment ana­lyses and measurements.

In like man­ner, expe­ri­men­tal pro­to­cols were imple­men­ted to make a biaxial cha­rac­te­ri­za­tion of soft tis­sues (skin, muscles) as well as pre­li­mi­na­ry stu­dies on hybrid sub­sti­tutes assem­bled in bio-reac­tor vessels.

New pro­jects are on the dra­wing board:

  • ERM_VISAGE desi­gned to explore use of magne­tic reso­nance elas­to­gra­phic tech­niques, to quan­ti­fy the mecha­ni­cal pro­per­ties of face muscles and to ana­lyse facial mimi­cry using EMG,
  • FLOWFACE to model facial fluid dynamics,
  • SILKGUIDE used to graft inno­va­tive nerve pros­the­tics and to mea­sure how func­tion control of face move­ments is reco­ve­red by the patient.

Contacts de la recherche à l'UTC

Pla­quette des inves­tis­se­ments d'avenir à l'UTC

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