Media & news

A night to remember, 10 years on: The launch of NobelGuide®

by: Michael Stuart

It's now 10 years since the official launch of the NobelGuide guided surgery concept, which included an ambitious live surgery beamed from Australia to the US. A decade on, we talk to some of those involved about that night, and about the secrets to NobelGuide’s enduring success.

A decade of development: Planning for guided surgery in 2005 using
Procera Software Clinical Design, and today with NobelClinician.

In June 2005 around 6,000 dental professionals gathered at the MGM Arena in Las Vegas for the Nobel Biocare World Conference. They came expecting big innovation and spectacular presentation, and they weren’t disappointed.

A major highlight was the official launch of the NobelGuide guided surgery concept which included a surgery screened live from Australia to the audience in Vegas.

Given the time difference this meant that the surgery ‘down under’ took place at 2:20 AM in the morning.

Here are the memories and thoughts of some of those who made it happen: 

Get the news straight to your inbox – sign up for our montly newsletter

Patrick Henry.jpg

Dr. Patrick Henry

One of the original pioneers of implant dentistry, Dr. Patrick Henry was a key advisor to Nobel Biocare for many years. At the time of the NobelGuide launch he was managing the Brånemark Center in Perth, Australia, which was heavily involved in the prelaunch activities. As part of the scientific committee for the 2005 Nobel Biocare World Conference, Dr. Henry was instrumental in arranging for the NobelGuide launch surgery to be beamed live from Australia to Las Vegas.

“I don’t remember exactly what I did for the launch at the MGM other than chairing an all-day program on stage, where I amazed everyone by not taking a bathroom break. Maybe that made me famous!

“During the preparation phase I acted as the liaison with Nobel Biocare headquarters on our involvement, very ably assisted by my then clinical co-coordinator Jill Depiazzi (see Jill's story below). Dr. Brent Allan (surgery) and Dr. Glen Liddelow (prosthetics) played a significant role in the live surgery aspects of the global launch.

Related: More on NobelGuide – digital precision for all indications

“For me, the NobelGuide concept was a major step forward in diagnosis and treatment planning. The precision engineering involved meant that we could treat borderline cases with certainty. We could make a scientifically based decision not to treat, or to plan an alternative strategy, such as preliminary grafting or two-stage surgery etc.

“I am now retired, however I continue to follow the development of Nobel Biocare’s integrated workflow. It simply just gets better, safer and quicker. It has become more flexible and I cannot comprehend why every implant dentist doesn’t use this as an everyday working tool. I know many do, but many others do not, and they absolutely should.”

Dr. Brent Allan

Dr. Brent Allan

Dr. Brent Allan was a colleague of Dr. Patrick Henry in Australia and carried out the surgery that appeared live on screen in Las Vegas. Dr. Allan was also heavily involved in prelaunch activity for NobelGuide. Directly after the surgery, Dr. Allan flew to the US to appear in person at the World Conference. 

“The NobelGuide software (now known as NobelClinician) was a very exciting development at the time as we could now use the information from CT Scans to virtually plan implant placement. It was a great tool. But more than this it allowed us to transfer this planning to the operating room and place the implants as planned. Surgery time was greatly reduced and we were really impressed with this.

Related: The key to successful treatments

“I had actually been regularly carrying out immediate loading of full-arch mandibular cases with Dr. Patrick Henry since 1993. When NobelGuide was launched it gave us an increased confidence to press on also with immediate loading of full-arch maxillary cases, partial cases and single tooth cases.

“I now regularly use the NobelClinician Software for treatment planning and diagnostic purposes. I always use NobelClinician for planning my zygomatic implant cases and often get NobelGuide surgical templates made to start the initial osteotomes as I feel this is an accurate way to start the cases.” 

The cinema-style setup used to stream the live surgery,
here being prepared for another presentation. 

Jill Depiazzi

Jill Depiazzi, Global Product Manager, NobelGuide

For the launch of NobelGuide in 2005, Jill Depiazzi was working as a clinical assistant and treatment coordinator for Dr. Patrick Henry. On the night of the launch, Jill was responsible for making sure all went to plan with the surgery being broadcast live to Las Vegas. Jill is still at the forefront of guided surgery today as Nobel Biocare’s Product Manager for NobelGuide.

“We started work after midnight because of the time difference between Perth and Las Vegas. We had to set up a huge amount of AV equipment and, of course, prepare for the surgery. I remember it was a long weekend and there was an important Aussie rules football match going on, which made it difficult for us to get the film crew. It was also a little dicey because there was a huge storm in Perth that night, so we had to consider several constraints.

“My role was to coordinate everything for the surgery and, of course, to support the treatment planning. I also made sure that the patient was fully informed and comfortable and directed the film crew. On top of that, I had to prepare Dr. Allan for the surgery and make sure he got on a plane to Las Vegas directly afterwards to participate in the World Conference. It was an exciting time. It was really hard work, but it was a lot of fun. We had a really good team to work with, and we all knew we were doing something special.

Related: One streamlined workflow with NobelConnect.

“Being involved in the launch of NobelGuide was really exciting, but the biggest thing for me was the patient’s reaction to the treatment. That’s always been the case. Telling patients that we can help them with their problems and showing them the result afterwards is really special.

“I feel like I’ve come full circle. I started out on the clinical side, which gave me an understanding of how the solution works clinically. It’s nice to understand how things have progressed and also to have a hand in the development of new solutions. I catch up with Patrick regularly to update him.

“NobelGuide is a great solution because we want to help dental professionals treat more patients better – and clinicians need different options. In certain cases, NobelGuide is that option.

“We work constantly to improve the concept. We are just now launching pilot drills for edentulous solutions. This means that we’ll offer pilot and fully guided templates for both partial and fully edentulous – in short, we’ll give clinicians even more opportunities. 

Daniel van Steenberghe.jpg

Prof. Daniel van Steenberghe

Long before the launch, Professor Daniel van Steenberghe had started the work that led to the creation of the NobelGuide concept. Prof. van Steenberghe was present in Las Vegas. For him, the full launch served to confirm that he and his team had taken the right approach to developing an effective guided surgery solution. 

“The full launch of the NobelGuide concept in 2005 was proof that the concept we had been developing was appropriate. We were especially curious to find out if the results from other centers would match ours. They generally confirmed our findings, achieving a high precision of planning transfer. A few surprises in one or two centers also illustrated that this technique, as surgery in general, needs to be applied with diligence.

“The live surgery by Dr. Allan was shown in Las Vegas with such high-quality video on an extra-large screen that the audience could see every detail. The patient had a limited jaw opening, which made the introduction for the counter-angle with the drill difficult, especially as Dr. Allan was trying not to be in the angle of the camera. At the end of his surgery the audience was really impressed.

“NobelGuide is synergistic with the NobelProcera concept and also offers applications in maxillofacial surgery, since soft tissues are also an integral part of the planning. Today the concept provides real meaning to the word teamwork. Within the digital workflow, all health providers can easily exchange their ideas. The prosthetic-focused lab technicians are definitely more involved and surgery becomes more prosthetically driven.”

Related: Learn more about NobelProcera CAD/CAM Restorations.