Three-dimensional (3D) printing is a manufacturing process in which an object is created by specialist printers designed to print in additive layers to create a 3D object. This technique has been adopted to create industrial products for large scale, like car,gun,accessories and so on, but how it works for medical use?
How it can create a vascular model? let me uncover the mystery.
First, we need get a CT angiogram of the vascular in digital imaging and communications in medicine (DICOM) format , and it will be imported into dedicated post-processing software. Then the data will be processed to reduce imaging noise and segment the anatomy of interest. The large artery and its branches will be isolated from the images via thresholding and interactive editing operations. Subsequently, a 3D surface model (STL file) will be created. The 3D software will be used to smooth the surface of the blood vessels, select wall thickness and add stabilization poles to the model so that it could be attached securely to a Plexiglas baseplate. Before producing the physical model, the contours of the final model were overlaid on the medical images to ensure the model remained anatomically correct.
In preparation for printing, the model was oriented to minimize printing time and dedicated software used to automatically calculate the required support material needed to stabilize the model during the printing process . This file will be uploaded to the 3D printer and the model printed layer-by-layer. The building times and layers depends on the complexity of the vascular structure. Once printing had been completed, the supporting structures were removed and an UV light resistant polish/varnish applied to produce a transparent finish. Finally the model will be screwed to the Plexiglas baseplate . The resultant model was lightweight and portable.
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