Physical breast phantoms for X-ray imaging employing 3D printing techniques

Thumbnail Image
Πετράι, Άντζελα
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Cancer is one of the most severe diseases, and many studies have been conducted to investigate possible treatments for it. Cancer is characterized by abnormal cell growth and the ability to invade tissues and distant organs. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women worldwide and the risk factors may vary according to several conditions. Menarche and the menstrual cycle, childbearing, menopause, diet, and exercise are some of these factors. The female breast is composed of adipose, glandular, and soft tissues and lymph nodes which create the lymphatic route, which is the main route for breast cancer metastasis. Breast cancer has always been studied by the scientific world and combined with the constant evolution of technology, important tools have been developed in order to detect and diagnose cancerous tumors. Conventional mammography and digital breast tomosynthesis are specialized medical imaging devices that display these abnormal masses of tissue. Three-dimensional printing is another excellent example of the evolution in the biomedical field, providing several applications. Physical breast phantoms are one of them. Physical breast phantoms are physical models of the breast developed by ‘mimicking’ materials to assess the image quality of the breast. This project mainly focuses on the study of the appropriate materials, suitable for the development of physical breast phantoms for breast X-ray imaging. Six thermoplastic materials were investigated and printed by employing the fused deposition modeling technique of 3D printing and two photopolymer resins by employing the stereolithography technique of 3D printing. 3D cubes made of ABS, PLA, PLA_Pro, Nylon, CPE, PET_G, Clear, and Purple were printed for optimal breast tissue imaging based on their attenuation coefficient (μ) and phase contrast. The X-ray exposure took place at Freiburg University Hospital and have been studied back at University of Patras.
3D printing, X-ray imaging, Photopolymer resins, Thermoplastic filaments