The emerging technique of rapid prototyping with three-dimensional (3-D) printers provides a simple yet revolutionary method for fabricating objects with arbitrary geometry. The use of 3-D printing for generating morphologically biomimetic tissue phantoms based on medical images represents a potentially major advance over existing phantom approaches. Toward the goal of image-defined phantoms, we converted a segmented fundus image of the human retina into a matrix format and edited it to achieve a geometry suitable for printing. Phantoms with vessel-simulating channels were then printed using a photoreactive resin providing biologically relevant turbidity, as determined by spectrophotometry. The morphology of printed vessels was validated by x-ray microcomputed tomography. Channels were filled with hemoglobin (Hb) solutions undergoing desaturation, and phantoms were imaged with a near-infrared hyperspectral reflectance imaging system. Additionally, a phantom was printed incorporating two disjoint vascular networks at different depths, each filled with Hb solutions at different saturation levels. Light propagation effects noted during these measurements - including the influence of vessel density and depth on Hb concentration and saturation estimates, and the effect of wavelength on vessel visualization depth - were evaluated. Overall, our findings indicated that 3-D-printed biomimetic phantoms hold significant potential as realistic and practical tools for elucidating light-tissue interactions and characterizing biophotonic system performance.
- hyperspectral reflectance imaging
- three-dimensional printing
- tissue phantoms
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics