Bringing patient education to life through 3D Printing

When someone breaks a bone, gets sick , or injured, doctors order imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans. The resulting abstract grayscale images are difficult for non-medical professionals to interpret and understand. This project explores the process of creating a tangible 3D printed model of real patient anatomy as an alternative patient education material.

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ct scan example

This demonstrates what a typical CT scan looks like. This image is showing a horizontal section through the lower pelvic area. The bright white in this image represents bone.

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anatomy before and after preparation for printing

Multiple 3D software platforms are utilized to create a 3D model from 2D CT scan slices and to prepare it for 3D printing. A model like the one pictured on the left side of the image cannot be successfully printed. Both of these models are showing the bones associated with the pelvis.

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3d printed anatomy

The final piece of anatomy that was printed: one hip bone (os coxa), at life size.