3D visualization in medical-student training

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Published In / Presented At

ToScA North America 6 – 8 June 2017, The University of Texas, Austin, TX Program


Medical Anatomy | Medical Education


Visualizing the spatial relationships of anatomical features, gross pathologies, and diagnostic findings is a fundamental part of the training of medical students and other learners in health-professions curricula. But to what extent can we augment the conventional training opportunities (e.g. Gross dissection, interpretation of sectional imagery, interpretation of histological sections) with 3D enhanced visualizations of anatomic, histologic, and diagnostic data-sets? Here we present a case study of medical-students at Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine utilizing 3D visualization and printing techniques as part of a summer training opportunity. Medical students, in the summer between their first and second year of medical school training, self-identified an interest in the interpretation of sectional imagery. These students were then encouraged to design a project with the aim of presenting a 3D visualization of an anatomic or pathologic study that could be better understood in a 3D format than conventional imaging formats. The students also identified the target audience for these studies— these included student-doctors, medical residents, and clinical patients. Case studies the students completed included visualizations of maxillofacial surgical interventions, pediatric cardiac defects, neurological tracts, cerebral basal ganglia, and paranasal sinuses, among others. The resulting 3D interpretations were then presented as either 3D prints (utilizing stereolithography), YouTube videos, interactive 3D PDF files, or some combination of these media. It is possible to develop case studies to a high degree of maturity during a summer program. The next step in this study is to identify the efficacy of these presentations in various learning environments.


Oral Abstract