[Michael Balzer] shows us that you are your own best advocate when it comes to medical care – having the ability to print models of your own tumors is a bonus. [Michael’s] wife, Pamela, had been recovering from a thyroidectomy when she started getting headaches. She sought a second opinion after the first radiologist dismissed the MRI scans of her head – and learned she had a 3 cm tumor, a meningioma, behind her left eye. [Michael], host of All Things 3D, asked for the DICOM files (standard medical image format) from her MRI. When Pamela went for a follow-up, it looked like the tumor had grown aggressively; this was a false alarm. When [Michael] compared the two sets of DICOM images in Photoshop, the second MRI did not truly show the tumor had grown. It had only looked that way because the radiologist had taken the scan at a different angle! Needless to say, the couple was not pleased with this misdiagnosis.
However, the meningioma was still causing serious problems for Pamela. She was at risk of losing her sight, so she started researching the surgery required to remove the tumor. The most common surgery is a craniotomy: the skull is sawed open and the brain physically lifted in order to access the tumor below it. Not surprisingly, this carries a high risk of permanent damage to any nerves leading to loss of smell, taste, or sight if the brain is moved the wrong way. Pamela decided to look for an alternative surgery that was less invasive. [Michael] created a 3D print of her skull and meningioma from her MRIs. He used InVesalius, free software designed to convert the 2D DICOM files into 3D images. He then uploaded the 3D rendered skull to Sketchfab, sharing it with potential neurologists. Once a neurologist was found that was willing to consider an alternative surgery, [Michael] printed the skull and sent it to the doctor. The print was integral in planning out the novel procedure, in which a micro drill was inserted through the left eyelid to access the tumor. In the end, 95% of the tumor was removed with minimal scarring, and her eyesight was spared.
If you want to print your own MRI or CT scans, whether for medical use or to make a cool mug with your own mug, there are quite a few programs out there that can help. Besides the aforementioned InVesalius, there is DeVIDE, Seg3D, ImageVis3D, and MeshLab or MeshMixer.
People get CT and MRI scans every day, and when [Oliver] needed some medical diagnostic imaging done, he was sure to ask for the files so he could turn his skull into a printable 3D object.
[Oliver] is using three different pieces of software to turn the DICOM images he received from his radiologist into a proper 3D model. The first two, Seg3D and ImageVis3D, are developed by the University of Utah Center for Integrative Biomedical Computing. Seg3D stitches all of the 2D images from an MRI or CT scan into a proper 3D format. ImageVis3D allows [Oliver] to peel off layers of his flesh, allowing him to export a file of just his skull, or a section of his entire face. The third piece of software, MeshMixer, is just a mesh editor and could easily be replaced with MeshLab or Blender.
[Oliver] still has a lot of work to do on the model of his skull – cleaning up the meshes, removing his mandible, and possibly plugging the top of his spinal column if he would ever want to print a really, really awesome mug. All the data is there, though, ready for digital manipulation before sending it off to be printed.
Continue reading “Converting CTs and MRIs Into Printable Objects”
[the_digital_dentist] had a CT Scan done back in 2007 for treatment using orthodontics. Some how, he managed to get a copy of the CT Scan data from the lab, and has been playing around with it lately.
Since he has a 3D printer, the obvious end goal was to print his face using some of the data extracted from the CT Scan. This required a lot of manipulation to get it to the finished model you see above. He used an open source software called DeVIDE to process the data and export the STL. Not much information on this is given on his site, but in our research we managed to find another video documenting the process in DeVIDE on extracting the STL model from DICOM CT scan data.
Unfortunately, the STL is far from being ready to print after being extracted; there is a lot of extraneous data that needs to be cleaned up. He used mesh editing software to help blow away the unnecessary details. We don’t know for sure what software [the_digital_dentist] used, but MeshLab is a good one.
After that, it was just a matter of printing the STL file. But the really cool thing about using data from CT scans is the amount of detail it captures… Stick around after the break to see an animated GIF demonstrating this.
Anyone want to print a copy of their own skull? It’d look great with a plating of Adamantanium…