Recently, I have been working with Peoria Imaging and Caterpillar, Inc. to develop a new program which consists of making a rapid prototyped model of specific areas of the body by utilizing a CT scan. This is my first explanation of industrial prototyping in the chiro/medical world.
Palmer College of Chiropractic’s grant research program is considering using this process in its studies and possibly in its curriculum as well. We can all open a book about x-ray pathology, but we are not all able to look at the study from every angle. In these studies, we must formulate three-dimensional imagery in our minds to put together the position of pathologies, fractures, bony artifacts, etc. With the use of CT scans and prototyping, one is successfully able to develop a product in a three-dimensional form that is identical to the body part being examined, giving us a new view of x-ray pathologies. The image is now a hand-held model taken from virtual reality CT. The process will have an impact on the future of chiropractic by allowing the complete hands-on experience of pathologies. It allows the doctor to view all parts of the examined area which will give doctors a better understanding of how patients would feel.
This is currently the only technology used in this manner, which in itself has generated much interest. I was asked by the International Congress of Traumatic Injury to submit an abstract of the project, which was accepted and presented in Miami in October.
Medically, these models can also be beneficial by giving surgeons the ability to do pre-operative studies, allowing them to make a thorough examination prior to surgical procedures. The surgeon will be able to examine the model from all angles when holding it in his/her hands. This will limit exploratory ventures, expedite closing time, lessen the chance of infection and limit questions of possible malpractice. Chiropractically, it will level the playing field on whether there was a misalignment of a segment or not. Also, joint dysfunctions, as in knees, shoulders and feet, will be visual in a hand-held model for manipulation and adjustment of moderate misalignments. The model is an exact replica of each patient, making assumptions unnecessary. This project was intended to be a marvelous tool for the welfare of mankind, and so far, this goal has been accomplished. IBI