Date Published:2017 Feb
PURPOSE: To demonstrate the use of anatomic MRI-visible three-dimensional (3D)-printed phantoms and to assess process accuracy and material MR signal properties. METHODS: A cervical spine model was generated from computed tomography (CT) data and 3D-printed using an MR signal-generating material. Printed phantom accuracy and signal characteristics were assessed using 120 kVp CT and 3 Tesla (T) MR imaging. The MR relaxation rates and diffusion coefficient of the fabricated phantom were measured and (1) H spectra were acquired to provide insight into the nature of the proton signal. Finally, T2 -weighted imaging was performed during cryoablation of the model. RESULTS: The printed model produced a CT signal of 102 ± 8 Hounsfield unit, and an MR signal roughly 1/3(rd) that of saline in short echo time/short repetition time GRE MRI (456 ± 36 versus 1526 ± 121 arbitrary signal units). Compared with the model designed from the in vivo CT scan, the printed model differed by 0.13 ± 0.11 mm in CT, and 0.62 ± 0.28 mm in MR. The printed material had T2 ∼32 ms, T2*∼7 ms, T1 ∼193 ms, and a very small diffusion coefficient less than olive oil. MRI monitoring of the cryoablation demonstrated iceball formation similar to an in vivo procedure. CONCLUSION: Current 3D printing technology can be used to print anatomically accurate phantoms that can be imaged by both CT and MRI. Such models can be used to simulate MRI-guided interventions such as cryosurgeries. Future development of the proposed technique can potentially lead to printed models that depict different tissues and anatomical structures with different MR signal characteristics.