A patient's CT or MRI scan can be converted into a patient-specific 3D printed model. Specific scanning protocols have been created to optimize 3D printing from CT and MRI data.
Trained and experienced technologists in the Department of Radiology 3D Imaging Lab segment out the various anatomic structures. For instance, for presurgical planning for removal of a kidney tumor, the technologists use 3D imaging software to first select only the kidney by "painting" on the images to highlight only the kidney. A model of the kidney is then created. They repeat this step for each of the arteries, veins, collecting systems and tumor. These 5 models are then merged in a different software program, and colors are given to each model. Additional editing and quality control steps are performed.
Subspecialty trained radiologists review the electronic models to verify the models are an accurate representation of the patient's anatomy.
The model is then ready to print. We have access to various 3D printers, which have the ability to print in multiple materials, including different flexibilities, hardness, opacity, and color. Some of the materials can also be sterilized for use in the operating room.
The final printed models are then cleaned and measured to verify the printing process. If needed, clear coat material is added to the transparent models to improve visualization of internal structures. Small magnets may also be attached to models that have been printed in more than 1 parts.
The model is then delivered to the ordering physician for patient care purposes.