3D printed kidney phantoms for an LED-based photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging system

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


Photoacoustic imaging is a powerful and increasingly popular technique for tissue diagnostics. Suitable tissue- equivalent phantoms are in high demand for validating photoacoustic imaging methods and for clinical training. In this work, we describe a method of directly 3D printing a photoacoustic tissue-equivalent phantom of a kidney based on Gel Wax, which is a mix of polymer and mineral oil. A kidney phantom that is compatible with photoacoustic scanning will enable clinicians to evaluate a portable LED-based photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging system as a means of locating tumors and other abnormalities. This represents a significant step towards clinical translation of the compact system. Training using realistic phantoms reduces the risks associated with clinical procedures. Complications during procedures can arise due to the specific structure of the kidney under investigation. Thus the ability to create a 3D printed phantom based on detailed anatomical images of a specific patient enables clinicians to train on a phantom with exactly the same structure as the kidney to be treated. Recently we developed a novel 3D printer based on gel wax. The device combines native gel wax with glass microspheres and titanium dioxide (TiO2) particles to obtain a medium with tissue-like optical and acoustic properties. 3D models created using this printer can be given a range of values of optical absorption reduced scattering coefficients. The ability to 3D patient-specific phantoms at low cost has the potential to revolutionize the production and use of tissue-equivalent phantoms in future, and can be applied to a wide range of organs and imaging modalities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhotons Plus Ultrasound
Subtitle of host publicationImaging and Sensing 2019
EditorsAlexander A. Oraevsky, Lihong V. Wang
ISBN (Electronic)9781510623989
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2019


  • 3D-printing
  • Gel-wax
  • Kidney
  • Phantom
  • Photoacoustic
  • Tissue-mimicking material
  • Ultrasound


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