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.


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.


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.


3d printed anatomy

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