A University of Iowa professor of biomechanical engineering has won a grant for more than 290-thousand dollars to develop image-based models of bones and joints that could help surgeons. Nicole Grosland will lead the project to develop 3-D digital images. She says they take imaging data from CAT-Scans or MRI pictures to use the computerized pictures of bones and joints. The goal’s to create a software package that will let your hospital’s X-Ray department turn a patient’s CAT-Scan into a 3-D digital image on a computer. She says they could look at bones in their various conditions, including what disease like arthritis would do to them, and look at the effects of a surgical procedure. One possibility she suggests might be a doctor talking with a patient about possible knee replacement surgery. She says you could make a model of the joint before any surgery was done, show the implant and how stress patterns would change after implantation of the artificial knee joint. The virtual joints will let doctors call up a part of the body, rotate and look it over, see it in motion and try different treatments on the computerized bones before they do the procedure on a patient. Grosland says the program will make a patient’s X-ray or CAT-Scan into a digital bone image that can be compared with the database. They’re working right now with the bones of the hand, taking a series of C-T scans and training a “neural network” to be able to automatically identify certain key bones. Then they can scan a patient’s bones with a 3-D laser scanner and compare them with image sets on file. She says they’re creating a software package that will automate the process of making an X-Ray into a 3-D model that’s patient-specific.
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