I've been out of the office for a few days and thus not checking my
email, which is why I'm late to jump in. Colored rp is of interest to
us. I'll tell you why, but first some background. MMC is in the
business of producing models of anatomic structures derived from CT
imaging techniques. Using the Materialise suite of software and two
SLA's we produce models of bone structures for surgeons who wish to use
the model for pre-surgical planning.
For a couple of years I have seen models that Materialise has carried
around that were selectively colored (they actually won the excellence
awards once or twice with these parts). These models showed a tumor or
teeth highlighted in a red or blue color against the rest of the model.
The effect is quite dramatic compared to a monochromatic model.
Here's how the material came to be. During the PHIDIAS project, which
studied the usefulness of medical models, Materialise (Belgium) in
conjunction with Zeneca Specialties (U.K.) developed an acrylate SLA
resin that could be selectively colored. The resin was commercialized
as 'Stereocol' in 1997 and promoted as the first resin designed
specifically for medical applications. It's appearance is crystal clear
with the highlight color being a bright pink/red. The material has also
passed tests for USP Class VI approval in the US. This means that the
material can be sterilized and have limited exposure to bodily fluids in
the operating room.
Medical Modeling Corporation has become the first company in North
America to obtain Stereocol material for our SLA-250/40 to be used
along with SL-5170. The first selectively colored model produced using
this Stereocol material in North America was made in Golden, Colorado
late last month.
The benefit of using color in the medical field, as has been mentioned,
is very evident. When we work with medical image data we receive much
more information than just bone data. A typical CT scan will include
data for the skin, tissues/muscles, fluids and bone. As such when we
produce a model using a traditional resin we can only show one of these
"data sets", which may not give the surgeon the complete picture for the
case. For us a two-color system allows for visualization of at least
one other area, be it a tumor mass, existing implant or soft tissue.
This can be tailored to the surgeon's needs for the specific case
depending on what he/she would like to see highlighted.
I can't say that I fully understand the chemistry behind the resin, but
what I find interesting is the fact that in theory you should be able to
create models with more than one shade of color. The intensity of color
is dependent on the amount of energy deposited into the resin. This
means that you could have a model with a section in light pink leading
to a section in dark pink. Interesting, yes. Applications, I don't
know. I'm guessing that Michael Rees should think of a few off the top
and I'm interested to see what they are.
Sorry for the length, but my 2 cents ran long today.
-- Regards, Andy Christensen
Medical Modeling Corporation 17301 W. Colfax Ave., Ste. 300 Golden, CO 80401 USA 303/273-5344 303/277-9472 fax
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