The 3D model you see here is a rat skeleton, that was 3D printed by collecting data from a CT scan, while was alive and intact.    Image © Image © Matthew Leevy/University of Notre Dame

This new method of 3D printing by a bioengineering student in the lab of Matthew Leevey at Notre Dame, can prove incredibly useful.
According to Wired‘s Greg Miller:

“Similarly made 3-D models based on CT scans from individual patients could help surgeons prepare for tricky surgeries, such as removing hard-to-access tumors in or around the airway, Leevy says. “Ideally they’d have the whole head right in front of them, with all the anatomy preserved, and the tumor printed out in a different color of plastic within the model.

At Notre Dame, there are 100 kids in anatomy class and they have to share 5 skulls. For 10 to 20 bucks they could each have their own skull to take back to their dorm to study.”

X-ray CT (top) and stereolithographic (bottom) renderings used to produce the rat skeleton above.     Image © Matthew Leevy/University of Notre Dame

read more wired