Re: CT scan data into 3D model

From: Panos Diamantopoulos (
Date: Fri Feb 14 2003 - 14:39:23 EET

Dear All,

It is very encouraging that this area is attracting more and more interest!
A few years ago there were very few people dealing with the area.
I really hope that this interest will push things forward and we will soon see developments in the design of custom-made implant/prosthesis, but in a more general sense.

I would like, however, to bring to your attention that designing an implant or prosthesis is not always a straightforward application of CAD and manufacturing. The integration of Medical Imaging with CAD and RP has certainly been a really great development. This has been proved in the case of the anatomical models but also in the design of maxillofacial implants, basically craniofacial plates. The same applies for custom-made drilling guides which are what I would call 'passive' devices. However, when it comes to 'active' devices, such as custom-made knee replacements, or other implant/prosthesis that actually contributes to body function, then it is another matter! Even if there was a biocompatible, printable material available, this should also satisfy relevant biomechanical aspects, such as interaction with body tissue, bone growth, stress distribution etc. Designing a medical device for aesthetics purposes and for rehabilitation purposes is very different.

We should therefore be quite careful on how we use available technology and what we suggest that we can do!
It would be great if the available technology was introduced into a clinical environment, and I wish that there were even more clinicians willing to investigate potential applications, but we must not ignore that the design of an implant/prosthesis is really a biomechanics' product, not solely a CAD or manufacturing development.

I hope that I make some sense, and really hope that the interest in the area will continue to grow!
If my Unit could possibly be of any assistance on this or other case, just let me know.

Best regards,


Dr Panos Diamantopoulos, BEng, MA, DPhil
Bio-Medical Modelling Unit (BioModel)
School of Engineering
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QT, UK
Tel: +44 1273 877320
Fax: +44 1273 877341

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Robert Thompson
  Sent: Friday, February 14, 2003 5:46 AM
  Subject: Re: CT scan data into 3D model

  Hello Ron,

  our BioBuild software can easily import 3D CT scans and export STL files. You can download a trial version at
  It does not allow for the design of implants, as we do not think this expensive functionality is necessary. For most craniofacial abnormalities, the biomodel alone can be used by a skilled prosthetist in consultation with the surgeon to shape a master implant which can be cast in plastic or shaped in titanium. See this under "Products and Services - Custom Implants" on our web site.
  As for "creation of the prosthesis in resin, also using stereolithography" - be warned: there is no commercially available SL resin that is implantable. We use StereoCol which is FDA approved for intra-operative use, but cannot be permanently implanted. SL resin is not biocompatible. You will need to use a medical-grade acrylic or other plastic, or titanium - depending on the defect size and location and the preference of the surgeon. Please feel free to contact me for further information.

  Kind regards,
  Robert Thompson
  Biomodelling Manager
  Anatomics Pty. Ltd.

   Randy Howard <> wrote:
    I am new to this list so I suppose that this topic may already have been addressed.

    What I would like to do is take the data from a medical CT scan and convert it into a type that can be used by SolidWorks and/or ProE to create a 3D solid model. Additionally, I would like to be able to save the model as an STL file to later be recreated in resin using the stereolithography process.

    I also would like to be able to manipulate the 3D virtual model thus created (in SolidWorks etc.) so that a prosthesis can be designed using the existing geometry of that model for reference. The ultimate goal being creation of the prosthesis in resin, also using stereolithography.

    While I have found several very expensive programs claiming to do these tasks, I need to locate an inexpensive solution to these goals. I am working on this project with another engineer and a physician, without payment, in an effort to find a solution which should bring relief to a friend who has suffered greatly from a physical abnormality. Any support or information furthering this project would be greatly appreciated.

    Randy Howard
    Mechanical Designer
    Everett, WA USA

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