3D digital human could revolutionise medical research

A digital 3D model of the human body for use in pre-operative planning and surgical analysis could soon be available to medical students and researchers. 

International experts at the Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design Studio (DDS) have teamed up with the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) to design the ‘3D Definitive Human’ – a digital anatomical model of the human body to aid in medical research and training.  

“Effective surgical treatment starts with a sound understanding of anatomy,” said Ian Ritchie, president of the RCSE. “The 3D definitive human project is a ground-breaking approach to understanding anatomy which will be fundamentally important to our UK and international fellowship.”

The model is being created from various anatomical references including precise medical scans of donor cadavers in the Laboratory of Human Anatomy, School of Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow and with specialist input from experts.

Those involved in the project believe it will lead to a step change in medical and surgical teaching, education and training. The model will allow for virtual dissection to take place, enabling medical students to see inside a body and understand its working without having to rely on donated cadavers.

A spokesperson for RCS said that the 3D model will revolutionise medical training by taking “learning out of the operating theatre”.

Work on the model’s skeleton is now complete, with the musculo-skeletal mechanics, viscera and anatomical systems expected to conclude within the next two years. Once finished, the 3D Definitive Human will be made available to more than 22,500 members and students of the Royal College across the world.

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