What do long extinct pig-footed bandicoots, anatomical education and 3D printing have in common? Justin Adams and Paul McMenamin of the Centre for Human Anatomy Education at the Monash Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology are using imaging data generated by the Monash NIF node fellows and the radiography team at Monash Biomedical Imaging. Their work developing highly detailed tissue models of human anatomy and long extinct Australian fauna is bring the dead back to life.

Neurosurgical training using simulators is now becoming more commonplace. High resolution CT and MRI data of cadaver hands, and biomechanical data available on the different tissues of the hand are being utilized to maximize anatomical and biomechanical accuracy in the development of a hand surgery simulator. These types of 3D datasets and rendering methods are being used to help develop the next generation of surgical assist robots by developing methods for generating precise tissue maps from clinical imaging data. Justin, Paul and his team including PhD student Raf Ratinam use the small bore Inveon CT and extended structural scans on the Skyra 3T MRI to generate high resolution images of iodine preserved human tissue specimens.

The CT and MR images are then reconstructed and “stitched” together to generate the tissue maps, enable further segmentation, 3D rendering and visualisation highlighting to allow students to visualise the tissue morphology during surgical training and anatomy classes. The datasets are then 3D printed using multiple materials to mimic tissue densities and generate highly realistic physical models of hand anatomy for surgical practice and training.

The researchers have also used the techniques with patient clinical CT scans to 3D print fractured bones to produce 3D models that allow surgeons to visualise the fracture and locate fastening points that speeds up the actual surgery. Patients could even collect a souvenir of their bone fracture or break, which would make an interesting trophy in the pool room cupboard at home!



Justin Adams

Paul McMenamin

Raf Ratinam

Michael de Veer

Tara Sepehrizadeh

Gang Zheng