Computerised 3-D anatomical modelling using plastinates: an example utilising the human heart

Tunali S., Kawamoto K., Farrell M. L., Labrash S., Tamura K., Lozanoff S.

FOLIA MORPHOLOGICA, vol.70, no.3, pp.191-196, 2011 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 70 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.191-196
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Computerised modelling methods have become highly useful for generating electronic representations of anatomical structures. These methods rely on cross-sectional tissue slices in databases such as the Visible Human Male and Female, the Visible Korean Human, and the Visible Chinese Human. However, these databases are time consuming to generate and require labour-intensive manual digitisation while the number of specimens is very limited. Plastinated anatomical material could provide a possible alternative to data collection, requiring less time to prepare and enabling the use of virtually any anatomical or pathological structure routinely obtained in a gross anatomy laboratory. The purpose of this study was to establish an approach utilising plastinated anatomical material, specifically human hearts, for the purpose computerised 3-D modelling. Human hearts were collected following gross anatomical dissection and subjected to routine plastination procedures including dehydration (-25 degrees C), defatting, forced impregnation, and curing at room temperature. A graphics pipeline was established comprising data collection with a hand-held scanner, 3-D modelling, model polishing, file conversion, and final rendering. Representative models were viewed and qualitatively assessed for accuracy and detail. The results showed that the heart model provided detailed surface information necessary for gross anatomical instructional purposes. Rendering tools facilitated optional model manipulation for further structural clarification if selected by the user. The use of plastinated material for generating 3-D computerised models has distinct advantages compared to cross-sectional tissue images. (Folia Morphol 2011; 70,3: 191-196)