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Keywords:

  • gross anatomy education;
  • corrosion casts;
  • vascular casts;
  • 3D reconstruction;
  • rapid prototype production;
  • distribution of anatomical information

Abstract

Anatomical corrosion casts of human specimens are useful teaching aids. However, their use is limited due to ethical dilemmas associated with their production, their lack of perfect reproducibility, and their consumption of original specimens in the process of casting. In this study, new approaches with modern distribution of complex anatomical spatial information were explored to overcome these limitations through the digitalization of anatomical casts of human specimens through three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction, rapid prototype production, and Web-based 3D atlas construction. The corrosion cast of a lung, along with its associated arteries, veins, trachea, and bronchial tree was CT-scanned, and the data was then processed by Mimics software. Data from the lung casts were then reconstructed into 3D models using a hybrid method, utilizing both “image threshold” and “region growing.” The fine structures of the bronchial tree, arterial, and venous network of the lung were clearly displayed and demonstrated their distinct relationships. The multiple divisions of bronchi and bronchopulmonary segments were identified. The 3D models were then uploaded into a rapid prototype 3D printer to physically duplicate the cast. The physically duplicated model of the lung was rescanned by CT and reconstructed to detect its production accuracy. Gross observation and accuracy detection were used to evaluate the duplication and few differences were found. Finally, Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) was used to edit the 3D casting models to construct a Web-based 3D atlas accessible through Internet Explorer with 3D display and annotation functions. Anat Sci Educ. © 2012 American Association of Anatomists.