Multimodality vascular imaging phantoms: a new material for the fabrication of realistic 3D vessel geometries.
Multimodality vascular flow phantoms provide a way of testing the geometric accuracy of clinical scanners and optimizing acquisition protocols with easy reproducibility of experimental conditions. This article presents a stereolithography method combined with a lost-material casting technique that eliminates metal residues of cerrolow (a low temperature melting point metallic alloy) left within irregular vessel lumens after casting. These residues potentially cause image artifacts especially in magnetic resonance angiography or flow disturbance. Geometrical accuracies of constructed lumens with isomalt, the proposed material, ranged from 3.3% to 5.7% for vessel diameters of 1.8-7.9 mm, which are comparable to those of lumens constructed with cerrolow that had better accuracies varying from 1.1% to 4.1% (p<0.02). Examples of geometries mimicking diseased arteries such as an aorta with stenosed renal arteries and an iliac artery with multiple stenoses are presented. This sugar-based isomalt material, combined with phantom designs having fiducial markers visible in digital subtraction angiography, computed tomography angiography, magnetic resonance angiography, and ultrasound [Med. Phys. 31, 1424-1433 (2004)], makes easier the fabrication of complex realistic and accurate replicas of pathological vessels with lumen irregularities.