Influence of CT parameters on STL model accuracy

Maureen van Eijnatten (Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery/Oral Pathology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Ferco Henricus Berger (Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Pim de Graaf (Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Juha Koivisto (Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland)
Tymour Forouzanfar (Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery/Oral Pathology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Jan Wolff (Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery/Oral Pathology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Publication date: 20 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Additive manufactured (AM) skull models are increasingly used to plan complex surgical cases and design custom implants. The accuracy of such constructs depends on the standard tessellation language (STL) model, which is commonly obtained from computed tomography (CT) data. The aims of this study were to assess the image quality and the accuracy of STL models acquired using different CT scanners and acquisition parameters.

Design/methodology/approach

Images of three dry human skulls were acquired using two multi-detector row computed tomography (MDCT) scanners, a dual energy computed tomography (DECT) scanner and one cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scanner. Different scanning protocols were used on each scanner. All images were ranked according to their image quality and converted into STL models. The STL models were compared to gold standard models.

Findings

Image quality differed between the MDCT, DECT and CBCT scanners. Images acquired using low-dose MDCT protocols were preferred over images acquired using routine protocols. All CT-based STL models demonstrated non-uniform geometrical deviations of up to +0.9 mm. The largest deviations were observed in CBCT-derived STL models.

Practical implications

While patient-specific AM constructs can be fabricated with great accuracy using AM technologies, their design is more challenging because it is dictated by the correctness of the STL model. Inaccurate STL models can lead to ill-fitting implants that can cause complications after surgery.

Originality/value

This paper suggests that CT imaging technologies and their acquisition parameters affect the accuracy of medical AM constructs.

Keywords

Citation

van Eijnatten, M., Berger, F.H., de Graaf, P., Koivisto, J., Forouzanfar, T. and Wolff, J. (2017), "Influence of CT parameters on STL model accuracy", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 678-685. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-07-2015-0092

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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