I remember watching knee replacement surgery with my Mom many years ago now, It was funny because my father could not watch it, he would get sick. HAHA, It was very interesting to me but I never pursued any career path that direction. I personally have never had to get an MRI, just an X-RAY because of a bout of pneumonia. It showed my chest and bones that I had never seen before. It was fuzzy and monochromatic but the Doctor was able to see the fluid in the bottom of the lungs. Seven days of antibiotics and I started to get my energy back.
OK, I know not very impressive, it is just an X-RAY, but when it is your lungs it is different.
An X-RAY is just a light shining through you and your body make a shadow on the sensitive plate. It is not slicing. Well, you could be sliced and made into a 3D Print the hard way. A male cadaver was frozen in a block of ice and then actually sliced into hundreds of layers, then photographed and digitized into a computer called the Visible Human Project. It brought the human body to a new level of understanding. It has been used for many students to study.
The project was started in 1986 and rescanned at higher resolution in 2000. I think about the drawings made by DaVinci. His work in the medical field of diagrams that could be copied and shared in books are still used today. Imagine for a moment not having a map to drive in a city that you have never been and you must get to the destination and back without mistakes and if your driver gets lost you die. That is no surgeon I want working on me. Now an operation can be rehearsed with real patent 3D data.
What does all that have to do with a home 3D printer? Well did you know that you could donate printer time to help an amputee print an arm?
The world of 3D printing is so wide, growing, expanding and learning what it is, who knows what might be printed on your printer in the future.
Yes, a Doctor just posted on Instructables how she studies the growth of live human cells with a 3D printed scaffolding. Do a quick 3D printing Google search with “medical” as a keyword and it is amazing with is going on.
Let try our own hand at being a medical researcher.
I never believed that in an afternoon and 15 minutes of my high-speed internet that I would be looking at real MRI data that I can process to make a bone model. There is no need for me to re-walk anyone back through the step by step instructions giving so well by Embodi3D.
Watch “Creating a 3D Printable Bone STL Model in 20 Minutes Using Freeware”
Don’t be confused by the name with a 3D printing Slicer program the term for MRI Scans are to refer to reassembly of data to make a 3D model not print it.
The program you can get for free is called 3D Slicer, it reads the file format called DICOM. The files are separate planes and are loaded into the program. Sorry, no easy buttons here just watch the video. You will also need Blender to help fix and clean.
In the end, you could end up with a workable STL file that could be printable of your own body.
Any time you deal with medical data you must understand privacy and it is hard to get free samples of data. But… if you have ever had a scan you can get your own for a very small fee. Some colleges have samples that the patient’s personal data has been removed and you might get.
Posted by Ron G.