3D printing and reverse engineering are innovative technologies that are revolutionizing scientific research in the health sciences and related clinical practice. Such technologies are able to improve the development of various custom-made medical devices while also lowering design and production costs. Recent advances allow the printing of particularly complex prototypes whose geometry is drawn from precise computer models designed on in vivo imaging data. This review summarizes a new method for histological sample processing (applicable to e.g., the brain, prostate, liver, and renal mass) which employs a personalized mold developed from diagnostic images through computer-Aided design software and 3D printing. Through positioning the custom mold in a coherent manner with respect to the organ of interest (as delineated by in vivo imaging data), the cutting instrument can be precisely guided in order to obtain blocks of tissue which correspond with high accuracy to the slices imaged. This approach appeared crucial for validation of new quantitative imaging tools, for an accurate imaging-histopathological correlation and for the assessment of radiogenomic features extracted from oncological lesions. The aim of this review is to define and describe 3D printing technologies which are applicable to oncological assessment and slicer design, highlighting the radiological and pathological perspective as well as recent applications of this approach for the histological validation of and correlation with MR images.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging