The geometric anatomy of the human body is very complex due to its free-form surfaces, asymmetries and anisotropies. Haptic models displaying the properties of anatomic structures, e.g. geometry, inner organization or the mechanical behavior, are rarely available on the current market and often have insufficient properties. There are numerous potential applications imaginable for these physical models. The models could be used as visualization or exercising tools in the education of medical professionals. Furthermore, the models are convenient for educating patients before treatment, especially concerning inner anatomic structures. Individual models from each patient provide an opportunity for surgeons to prepare precisely for the upcoming surgery during the pre-surgical planning phase.
The models are generated based on original patient data. Therefore, a virtual model is created from CT and MRI data sets using segmentation. Segmentation describes an image processing technique to separate the relevant structures from the surrounding anatomy in the slice data. If necessary, these models can be edited afterwards using various software tools (e.g. CAD). Finally, the digital models are additively manufactured out of silicone using the ACEO®-Technology. The usage of the additive manufacturing process allows the generation of the complex geometries from anatomic structures. Using silicone enables the imitation of several material properties, e.g. elasticity, hardness or ability to make incisions.