Research Group OMFS digital (AG MKG digital)
Artificial Intelligence, Mixed Reality & 3D Printing

We are a team of young researchers with the goal of digital transformation in oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMFS) by using the latest technological developments to advance our speciality. On the user side, we are working with augmented and virtual reality to support the surgeon in planning and performing surgical procedures. On the data side, artificial intelligence is applied to simultaneously provide decision support and new insights to improve these surgical processes and patient management. The long-term goal is to bring both worlds together to achieve a user- and data-driven digital transformation.

Frank Hölzle, PhD MD DMD
Head & Chairman Department of Oral  and Maxillofacial Surgery

Rainer Röhrig, PhD MD
Head & Chairman Institute of Medical Informatics

Behrus Puladi, MD DMD
Specialist in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Specialist in Medical Informatics

Contact Information:
phone: +49 241 80-38389

Ashkan Rashad, MD DMD
Senior Consultant for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Contact Information:
phone: +49 241 80-36295


Prinicipal members (Alphabetical)

  • Leo Auhagen
  • Setareh Bady
  • Paulina Becker
  • Jeff Berens
  • Moritz Bregenzer
  • Martin Crampen
  • Leonhard Gerich
  • Lena Giebeler
  • Kim Grunert
  • Hauke Heidemeyer, BSc
  • Yao Li, MSc
  • Claire Melchior
  • Mayya Milcheva
  • Jasper Moors, MSc
  • Philipp Peters
  • Anna Maria Plum
  • Johannes Raufeisen, MSc
  • Leon Schönbrunn, BSc
  • Max Ulbrich, MD
  • Oliver Vladu, MD DMD
  • Kunpeng Xie, MSM
  • Zhibin Xu, DMD

Visiting Scientists:

  • André Ferreira, MSc (Centro ALGORITMI, University of Minho, Portugal)


  • Mark Cesov, MSc 
  • Lennart Gruber, MD
  • Dipl.-Ing. Christina Gsaxner, PhD
  • Filip Kajzer, MSc
  • Ila Motmaen, MD DMD
  • Zhongyu Xu

Applications from highly motivated and qualified students are always welcome. Time frames or topics for bachelor or master's theses (in cooperation with faculties 1 or 4), medical or dental doctoral theses (Dr. med./Dr. med. dent.) or PhD (Dr. rer. medic.) can be specified individually. We offer a great technical and scientific environment with many exciting topics.

If you would like to participate, please contact Behrus Puladi/Ashkan Rashad or just come to our scientific meeting (every Tuesday at 17:00 in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, C-2, E-4). Due to the current COVID-19 situation, at this time only online via Zoom.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

Techniques of so-called augmented reality (AR) can provide intraoperative support for the surgeon by visualizing additional information and have been used in the field of oral and maxillofacial surgery for trauma, tumor, and orthognathic surgery since the mid-1990s. Computer-assisted surgery (CAS) in the form of navigation has been used for many years now, particularly for reconstruction of the midface. The main problem with previous navigation devices is that in open surgery with an unobstructed view of the surgical field, there is a dissociation between the direction of vision and manual activity. The use of semi-transparent displays, on the other hand, would directly cover the surgical field itself.  In this context, so-called optical see-through head-mounted displays (OST-HMDs) represent a new and incisive development. In contrast to previous techniques, spatial perception of virtual objects with direct superimposition of the field of view in the surgical field is possible. Virtual reality (VR) techniques, on the other hand, enable the purely virtual simulation of surgical procedures in the field of oral and maxillofacial surgery for orthognathic, tumor and trauma surgery. In addition, it can also be used in the context of medical education and training for practicing and planning surgical procedures.

Artificial Intelligence (Machine Learning, Deep Learning)

Artificial intelligence (machine learning or deep learning) can be used to develop predictive models based on large amounts of data (histological, radiological, and clinical data), leading to new insights with regard to diagnostics and therapy. This enables new possibilities in the field of oral and maxillofacial surgery that go beyond classical image processing with subjective-visual assessment by specialists or the clinical experience of an individual person.

  • Hoffmann H, Funke I, Peters P, Venkatesh DK, Egger J, Rivoir D, Röhrig R, Hölzle F, Bodenstedt S, Willemer M-C, Speidel S, Puladi B. AIxSuture: vision-based assessment of open suturing skills. International journal of computer assisted radiology and surgery. 2024. https://doi:10.1007/s11548-024-03093-3.
  • Gruber LJ, Egger J, Bönsch A, Kraeima J, Ulbrich M, van den Bosch V, Motmaen I, Wilpert C, Ooms M, Isfort P, Hölzle F, Puladi B. Accuracy and Precision of Mandible Segmentation and Its Clinical Implications: Virtual Reality, Desktop Screen and Artificial Intelligence. Expert Systems With Applications. 2024;239:122275. https://doi:10.1016/j.eswa.2023.122275.
  • Melchior C, Isfort P, Braunschweig T, Witjes M, van den Bosch V, Rashad A, Egger J, La Fuente M de, Röhrig R, Hölzle F, Puladi B. Development and validation of a cadaveric porcine pseudotumor model for oral cancer biopsy and resection training. BMC Medical Education. 2024;24(1):250. https://doi:10.1186/s12909-024-05224-5.
  • Puladi B, Coldewey B, Volmerg JS, Grunert K, Berens J, Rashad A, Hölzle F, Röhrig R, Lipprandt M. Improving detection of oral lesions: Eye tracking insights from a randomized controlled trial comparing standardized to conventional approach. Head & Neck. 2024. https://doi:10.1002/hed.27687.
  • Puladi B, Gsaxner C, Kleesiek J, Hölzle F, Röhrig R, Egger J. The impact and opportunities of large language models like ChatGPT in oral and maxillofacial surgery: a narrative review. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2024;53(1):78-88. https://doi:10.1016/j.ijom.2023.09.005.
  • Luijten G, Gsaxner C, Li J, Pepe A, Ambigapathy N, Kim M, Chen X, Kleesiek J, Hölzle F, Puladi B, Egger J. 3D surgical instrument collection for computer vision and extended reality. Sci Data. 2023;10(1):796. https://doi:10.1038/s41597-023-02684-0.
  • Drobinsky S, de la Fuente M, Puladi B, Radermacher K. Accuracy of on-site teleoperated milling with haptic assistance. Int J Comput Assist Radiol Surg. 2023 Jul 16. doi: 10.1007/s11548-023-02983-2. PMID: 37454325.
  • Li J, Ferreira A, Puladi B, Alves V, Kamp M, Kim M, Nensa F, Kleesiek J, Ahmadi S-A, Egger J. Open-source skull reconstruction with MONAI. SoftwareX 2023; 23:101432. 
  • Peters P, Lemos M, Bönsch A, Ooms M, Ulbrich M, Rashad A, Krause F, Lipprandt M, Kuhlen TW, Röhrig R, Hölzle F, Puladi B. Effect of head-mounted displays on students' acquisition of surgical suturing techniques compared to an e-learning and tutor-led course: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Surg 2023; 109(8):2228–40. 
  • Puladi B, Ooms M, Rieg A, Taubert M, Rashad A, Hölzle F, Röhrig R, Modabber A. Development of machine learning and multivariable models for predicting blood transfusion in head and neck microvascular reconstruction for risk-stratified patient blood management. Head & Neck. 2023.
  • Ulbrich M, van den Bosch V, Bönsch A, Gruber LJ, Ooms M, Melchior C, Motmaen I, Wilpert C, Rashad A, Kuhlen TW, Hölzle F, Puladi B. Advantages of a Training Course for Surgical Planning in Virtual Reality for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: Crossover Study. JMIR Serious Games. 2023;11:e40541.
  • Gonçalves M, Gsaxner C, Ferreira A, Li J, Puladi B, Kleesiek J, Egger J, Alves V. Radiomics in Head and Neck Cancer Outcome Predictions. Diagnostics. 2022;12(11).
  • Glas HH, Kraeima J, Tribius S, Leusink FKJ, Rendenbach C, Heiland M, Stromberger C, Rashad A, Fuller CD, Mohamed ASR, Lai SY, Witjes MJH. Three-Dimensional Evaluation of Isodose Radiation Volumes in Cases of Severe Mandibular Osteoradionecrosis for the Prediction of Recurrence after Segmental Resection. J Pers Med. 2022;12(5).
  • Puladi B, Ooms M, Geijtenbeek T, Trinler U, Houschyar KS, Gruber LJ, Motmaen I, Rashad A, Hölzle F, Modabber A. Tolerable degree of muscle sacrifice when harvesting a vastus lateralis or myocutaneous anterolateral thigh flap. Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery. 2023;77:94-103.
  • Puladi B, Ooms M, Bellgardt M, Cesov M, Lipprandt M, Raith S, Peters F, Möhlhenrich SC, Prescher A, Hölzle F, Kuhlen TW, Modabber A. Augmented Reality-Based Surgery on the Human Cadaver Using a New Generation of Optical Head-Mounted Displays: Development and Feasibility Study. JMIR Serious Games. 2022;10(2):e34781.
  • Puladi B, Ooms M, Kintsler S, Houschyar KS, Steib F, Modabber A, Hölzle F, Knüchel-Clarke R, Braunschweig T. Automated PD-L1 Scoring Using Artificial Intelligence in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Cancers (Basel). 2021;13(17).
  • Rashad A, Heiland M, Hiepe P, Nasirpour A, Rendenbach C, Keuchel J, Regier M, Al-Dam A. Evaluation of a novel elastic registration algorithm for spinal imaging data: A pilot clinical study. Int J Med Robot. 2019;15(3):e1991.

* Principal members in bold 

Master/Bachelor Theses in Computer Science 

  • Master Thesis in Computer Science: Evaluating Different Deep Learning Approaches for the Automated Analysis of Chest X-Rays, Patrick Wienholt, 2023 (Supervisors: Hermans A, Truhn D, Puladi B).   
  • Master Thesis in Computer Science: A Deep Learning Pipeline for the Analysisof Public Tumor Databases - Tissue Classification, Cell Segmentationand Classification, Raufeisen J, 2022 (Supervisors: Hermans A, Puladi B)
  • Master Thesis in Computer Science: Pre-operative Planning in Virtual Reality with Head Mounted Displays for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Kajzer F, 2020 (Supervisors: Bönsch A, Puladi B)
  • Master Thesis in Computer Science: Intra-operative guide in Augmented Reality with Head Mounted Devices in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Cesov M, 2020 (Supervisors: Bellgardt M; Puladi B). 

* Principal members in bold 


  • Matías de la Fuente, PhD, Sergey Drobinsky M.Sc. and Yao Li, B.Sc. Klaus Radermacher, PhD (RG Medical Engineering at MediTEC; Faculty 4; Director: Klaus Rademacher, PhD) 
  • Andrea Bönsch, M.Sc., Martin Bellgardt, M.Sc., Torsten Wolfgang Kuhlen, PhD (RG Virtual Reality and Immersive Visualization at the Visual Computing Institute; Faculty 1; Director: Torsten Wolfgang Kuhlen, PhD)  
  • Alexander Hermans, PhD, Bastian Leibe, PhD (RG Computer Vision at the Visual Computing Institute; Faculty 1; Director: Bastian Leibe, PhD). 
  • Marco Pegoraro, MSc, Viki Peeva, MSc, Harry Beyel MSc and Willibrordus van der Aalst, PhD (Chair of Process and Data Science; Faculty 1; Director: Willibrordus van der Aalst, PhD). 
  • Gunnar Müller, MD (Institute of Pathology; Faculty 10; Director: Danny Jonigk, PhD MD) 
  • Vincent Van den Bosch, MD, Daniel Truhn, PhD MD Dipl.-Phys. and Peter Isfort, PhD MD (Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology; Faculty 10; Director: Christiane Kuhl, PhD MD) 


  • Jan Egger, PhD, Jens Kleesiek, PhD MD (Institute of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, University Medicine Essen)  
  • Till Braunschweig, MD (Institute of Pathology, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich) 
  • Max Witjes, MD DMD PhD and Joep Kraeima, PhD (Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, UMC Groningen) 
  • Christina Gsaxner, MSc (Institute of Computer Graphics and Vision, Technical University Graz, Austria)  
  • Andreas Ferreira, MSc and Victor Alves, PhD (Centro ALGORITMI, University of Minho, Portugal) 
  • Xiaojun Chen, PhD (Shanghai University) 
  • Lennart Gruber, MD (Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University Göttingen) 
  • Max Taubert, MD MS (University of Cologne), Thomas Geijtenbeek, PhD (TU Delft), Ursula Trinler, PhD (BG Ludwidgshafen) 

SMITH - Smart Medical Information Technology for Healthcare, (BMBF)

Clinician Scientist Program of the Medical Faculty RWTH Aachen in the senior track - 50% research grant for 3 years.

Tuition replacement funds of the medical faculty RWTH Aachen for the establishment of a virtual reality laboratory – 6.300 Euro.

CSC Scholarship – two research grants for 3 years and 4 years