Researchers at University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) have discovered an innovative way to construct human organ simulations that almost looks real. The aim of this Simulated Inanimate Model is to fabricate a model of the kidney that looks identical to the real one, even when it cuts or bleeds. This revolutionary program is directed by neurosurgeon Jonathan Stone and urology professor Ahmed Ghazi.
Medical scans were converted into computer generated designs through a complex process by Stone and Ghazi to 3D print organ molds. These organs were later injected with a hydrogel that imitates human texture.
“Very few surgical simulations are successful at recreating the live event from the beginning to the end,” Ghazi said. “What we have created is a model that looks, feels, and reacts like a live organ and allows trainees and surgeons to replicate the same experience they would face in the operating room with a real patient.”
From the last two years, Stone and Ghazi have been developing this method. For this, they converted MRI images, CT scans or ultrasounds into computer assisted designs (CAD). These (CAD) designs are then used to 3D print the molds of human organs. Lastly, these molds are injected with a frozen solid as well a unique hydrogel. The research done by Stone and Ghazi enables skilled surgeons to update their medical knowledge and learn new techniques of surgery.
“Surgeons are just like pilots,” Ghazi stated. “There will always be the first time a pilot takes a 747 up into the air and there will always be a first time a surgeon does a procedure from beginning to end on their own. While pilots have simulators that allow them to spend hours of training in a realistic environment, there really is no lifelike equivalent for surgeons.”
This complex process includes shifting other organs, clamping blood vessels and removing tumors. To fulfill this task, Stone and Ghazi along with their team assembled the complete segment of a human body including artificial muscle tissue, skin fat, and other adjacent organs. Stone and Ghazi were not only wanted to create models of human anatomy but they also wanted the models to look exactly the same. Finally, they succeeded in creating a replica of human anatomy.