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Patient-specific polyvinyl alcohol phantom fabrication with ultrasound and x-ray contrast for brain tumor surgery planning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Eleanor C. Mackle, Jonathan Shapey, Efthymios Maneas, Shakeel R. Saeed, Robert Bradford, Sebastien Ourselin, Tom Vercauteren, Adrien E. Desjardins

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere61344
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number161
PublishedJul 2020

King's Authors


Phantoms are essential tools for clinical training, surgical planning and the development of novel medical devices. However, it is challenging to create anatomically accurate head phantoms with realistic brain imaging properties because standard fabrication methods are not optimized to replicate any patient-specific anatomical detail and 3D printing materials are not optimized for imaging properties. In order to test and validate a novel navigation system for use during brain tumor surgery, an anatomically accurate phantom with realistic imaging and mechanical properties was required. Therefore, a phantom was developed using real patient data as input and 3D printing of molds to fabricate a patient-specific head phantom comprising the skull, brain and tumor with both ultrasound and X-ray contrast. The phantom also had mechanical properties that allowed the phantom tissue to be manipulated in a similar manner to how human brain tissue is handled during surgery. The phantom was successfully tested during a surgical simulation in a virtual operating room. The phantom fabrication method uses commercially available materials and is easy to reproduce. The 3D printing files can be readily shared, and the technique can be adapted to encompass many different types of tumor.

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