Three-Dimensional Printing-Generated Realistic Anatomy Models and Virtual Endoscopy-Enhanced Intravascular Assessment of Pathologies.
Three-dimensional (3D) printing has become a widely used technique showing many medical applications which range from orthopedics and maxillofacial surgery to cardiovascular disease and tumor imaging. 3D printed models also serve as a useful tool for pre-surgical planning, simulation of surgical procedures, training medical students and young doctors, and enhancing patient-doctor communications.
Another research direction of using 3D printed models is to develop optimal CT scanning protocols for reducing radiation dose while still achieving diagnostic images. Abdullah et al developed a novel 3D printed cardiac phantom with the insertion of different filling materials.18 The 3D printed model was placed within an anthropomorphic chest phantom and was scanned with multi-slice CT using the standard 120 kVp protocol. CT attenuations of these filling materials (contrast medium, air, oil/fat, and jelly/muscle) from the 3D printed phantom measurements were similar to those from patient’s CT images.
Our recent publications have further explored the usefulness of 3D printed models in developing optimal CT scanning protocols and studying the effect of different slice thicknesses on the visualization of coronary stenosis and calcified plaques with the assistance of virtual intravascular endoscopy (VIE). Our first paper showed that we have successfully created a patient-specific 3D printed pulmonary artery model with normal anatomy.
In summary, these recent publications highlight another research direction of using patient-specific 3D printed models for investigating the optimal CT scanning protocols and determining the spatial resolution of CT images for accurate assessment of coronary plaques and associated lumen stenosis. The findings of these studies advance the application of 3D printed models in the medical imaging field such as radiation dose reduction and image quality assessment.
Heart Res Open J. 2018; 5(1): e1-e4. doi: 10.17140/HROJ-5-e009