Idea to Implementation: Tactical Issues -Image acquisition and Protocoling for 3D Printing

Hui Jenny Chen, MD and Michelle Gabriel, MS, MBA

(This blog is adapted from our recent publication A Roadmap from Idea to Implementation: 3D Printing for Pre-Surgical Application: Operational Management for 3D Printing in Surgery)

High-quality imaging acquisition is extremely important to produce a high-fidelity 3D printed model. In theory, any cross-sectional imaging modality can be protocoled to produce images compatible for 3D printing. This would include traditional adult CT, MRI, but now also includes 3D US, fetal MRI, and DRA. [9, 25, 49] Typically, the maximum slice thickness for any cross-sectional imaging study should be less than 2 mm. However, there is an existing publication on new reconstruction algorithms that can be used to create adequate STL files from thicker slices (~ 5mm), such as in the case of fetal MRI. [3, 6, 14, 49]