Development of a CT-compatible anthropomorphic skull phantom for surgical planning, training, and simulation

Marco Lai, Simon Skyrman, Flip Kor, Robert Homan, Drazenko Babic, Erik Edström, Oscar Persson, Gustav Burström, Adrian Elmi-Terander, Benno H.W. Hendriks, Peter H.N. De With

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Neurosurgical training is performed on human cadavers and simulation models, such as VR platforms, which have several drawbacks. Head phantoms could solve most of the issues related to these trainings. The aim of this study was to design a realistic and CT-compatible head phantom, with a specific focus on endo-nasal skull-base surgery and brain biopsy. A head phantom was created by segmenting an image dataset from a cadaver. The skull, which includes a complete structure of the nasal cavity and detailed skull-base anatomy, is 3D printed using PLA with calcium, while the brain is produced using a PVA mixture. The radiodensity and mechanical properties of the phantom were tested and adjusted in material choice to mimic real-life conditions. Surgeons find the skull, the structures at the skull-base and the brain realistically reproduced. The head phantom can be employed for neurosurgical education, training and surgical planning, and can be successfully used for simulating surgeries.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2021
Subtitle of host publicationImaging Informatics for Healthcare, Research, and Applications
EditorsThomas M. Deserno, Brian J. Park
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781510640313
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventSPIE Medical Imaging 2021: Imaging Informatics for Healthcare, Research, and Applications - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: 15 Feb 202120 Feb 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceSPIE Medical Imaging 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online


  • Anthropomorphic phantom
  • brain biopsy.
  • CT compatible phantom
  • endo-nasal skull-base surgery
  • neurosurgical simulation
  • skull phantom


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