One of the key steps in generating three-dimensional (3D) printed models in medicine is segmentation of radiologic imaging. The software tools used for segmentation may be automated, semi-automated, or manual which rely on differences in material density, attenuation characteristics, and/or advanced software algorithms. Spectral Detector Computed Tomography (SDCT) is a form of dual ... [Show full abstract] energy computed tomography that works at the detector level to generate virtual monoenergetic images (VMI) at different energies/ kilo-electron volts (keV). These VMI have varying contrast and attenuation characteristics relative to material density. The purpose of this pilot project is to explore the use of VMI in segmentation for medical 3D printing in four separate clinical scenarios. Cases were retrospectively selected based on varying complexity, value of spectral data, and across multiple clinical disciplines (Vascular, Cardiology, Oncology, and Orthopedic).
In all four clinical cases presented, the segmentation process was qualitatively reported as easier, faster, and increased the operator's confidence in obtaining accurate anatomy. All cases demonstrated a significant difference in the calculated Hounsfield Units between conventional and VMI data at the level of targeted segmentation anatomy. Two cases would not have been feasible for segmentation and 3D printing using conventional images only. VMI data significantly reduced conventional CT artifacts in one of the cases.
Utilization of VMI from SDCT can improve and assist the segmentation of target anatomy for medical 3D printing by enhancing material contrast and decreasing CT artifact.