Development of patient-specific 3D-printed breast phantom using silicone and peanut oils for magnetic resonance imaging
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Background: Despite increasing reports of 3D printing in medical applications, the use of 3D printing in breast imaging is limited, thus, personalized 3D-printed breast model could be a novel approach to overcome current limitations in utilizing breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for quantitative assessment of breast density. The aim of this study is to develop a patient-specific 3D-printed breast phantom and to identify the most appropriate materials for simulating the MR imaging characteristics of fibroglandular and adipose tissues. Methods: A patient-specific 3D-printed breast model was generated using 3D-printing techniques for the construction of the hollow skin and fibroglandular region shells. Then, the T1 relaxation times of the five selected materials (agarose gel, silicone rubber with/without fish oil, silicone oil, and peanut oil) were measured on a 3T MRI system to determine the appropriate ones to represent the MR imaging characteristics of fibroglandular and adipose tissues. Results were then compared to the reference values of T1 relaxation times of the corresponding tissues: 1,324.42±167.63 and 449.27±26.09 ms, respectively. Finally, the materials that matched the T1 relaxation times of the respective tissues were used to fill the 3D-printed hollow breast shells. Results: The silicone and peanut oils were found to closely resemble the T1 relaxation times and imaging characteristics of these two tissues, which are 1,515.8±105.5 and 405.4±15.1 ms, respectively. The agarose gel with different concentrations, ranging from 0.5 to 2.5 wt%, was found to have the longest T1 relaxation times. Conclusions: A patient-specific 3D-printed breast phantom was successfully designed and constructed using silicone and peanut oils to simulate the MR imaging characteristics of fibroglandular and adipose tissues. The phantom can be used to investigate different MR breast imaging protocols for the quantitative assessment of breast density.
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