Within the medical field, the use of MRI scans has been tremendously helpful for neurosurgeons to accurately evaluate and visualize a patient's brain anatomy. But what if we took it a step further and allowed doctors to hold a 1:1 representation in their hands? The 3D printed brain model allows just that. Not only would this be a patient-specific aid, but it can also be applied as a teaching tool in the medical education community.
This model is broken down into four sections: Green represents the Frontal lobe, responsible for motor control, speech, and smell; yellow represents the Parietal lobe and Cerebellum, responsible for taste, touch, and coordination; blue represents the Occipital lobe, responsible for vision; and red represents the Temporal lobe, responsible for hearing and facial recognition.
This model was created by first taking an MRI scan, segmenting the model, and then converting into an STL file. You can find the step-by-step process here (the video uses a program called 3D Slicer, but there are many other methods and programs that can process this step). The STL file was then brought into Meshmixer, where it was divided into multiple bodies to print in different colors, and finally uploaded into Simplify3D to be sliced. The end result was printed on a Type A Series-1 printer with a Palette.
Converting the MRI into an STL file in 3D Slicer
Dividing the file into the different regions of the brain in Meshmixer