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A radiopaque 3D printed, anthropomorphic phantom for simulation of CT-guided procedures

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To develop an anthropomorphic phantom closely mimicking patient anatomy and to evaluate the phantom for the simulation of computed tomography (CT)-guided procedures.


Patient CT images were printed with aqueous potassium iodide solution (1 g/mL) on paper. The printed paper sheets were stacked in alternation with 1-mm thick polyethylene foam layers, cut to the patient shape and glued together to create an anthropomorphic abdomen phantom. Ten interventional radiologists performed periradicular infiltration on the phantom and rated the phantom procedure regarding different aspects of suitability for simulating CT-guided procedures.


Radiopaque printing in combination with polyethylene foam layers achieved a phantom with detailed patient anatomy that allowed needle placement. CT-guided periradicular infiltration on the phantom was rated highly realistic for simulation of anatomy, needle navigation and overall course of the procedure. Haptics were rated as intermediately realistic. Participants strongly agreed that the phantom was suitable for training and learning purposes.


A radiopaque 3D printed, anthropomorphic phantom provides a realistic platform for the simulation of CT-guided procedures. Future work will focus on application for training and procedure optimisation.

Key Points

Radiopaque 3D printing combined with polyethylene foam achieves patient phantoms for CT-guided procedures.

Radiopaque 3D printed, anthropomorphic phantoms allow realistic simulation of CT-guided procedures.

Realistic visual guidance is a key aspect in simulation of CT-guided procedures.

Three-dimensional printed phantoms provide a platform for training and optimisation of CT-guided procedures.

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We thank Christian Althoff, Torsten Diekhoff, Felix Doellinger, Ahi Sema Issever, Matthias Rief, Valentina Romano, Musaab Saleh, Regina Thiel and Elke Zimmermann of the Department of Radiology, Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin.


This study has received funding by the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (DE): 03EFHBE093.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paul Jahnke.

Ethics declarations


The scientific guarantor of this publication is Dr. Paul Jahnke.

Conflict of interest

The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies, whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article.


Patent applications for the 3D printing method were filed by Dr. Jahnke and PD Dr. Scheel: DE202015104282U1, EP000003135199A1, US020170042501A1.

Statistics and biometry

No complex statistical methods were necessary for this paper.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was waived by the Institutional Review Board.

Ethical approval

Institutional Review Board approval was obtained.


• prospective

• observational

• performed at one institution

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Jahnke, P., Schwarz, F.B., Ziegert, M. et al. A radiopaque 3D printed, anthropomorphic phantom for simulation of CT-guided procedures. Eur Radiol 28, 4818–4823 (2018).

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  • Printing, three-dimensional
  • Phantoms, imaging
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Tomography, X-ray computed
  • Simulation training