Hayley Reynolds (Auckland Bioengineering Institute) describes how, using images from the Visible Human project, she has created a 3D computer model of the human skin and mapped the location of lymph nodes onto this.
My model consists of both skin mesh, so I have a 3D model of human skin, and then I also have a model of lymph nodes
The 3D model itself is built from what’s called ‘Visible Human’ images. The Visible Human project was carried out by the National Library of Medicine over in the States, and they wanted to have a database of human anatomy. They took a male cadaver and sliced him up into 1 mm slices all the way down his body.
The Visible Human images were 2D images on the computer that I have used to stack it in 3D computer space. And then from that I have gathered data of the skin surface of the whole man. What I did was I digitised the human skin, so I created data points around the surface of the human skin for a number of slices of the Visible Human, and then created a data cloud which was in 3D from which I have created my 3D model of the human skin.
Since melanoma is most likely to spread to lymph nodes if it’s spread, I had to create a lymph node model as well, which I could map the lymphoscintigraphy data onto as well. So a human has roughly 600 to 1,000 lymph nodes in their body, so there is quite a lot. There are 43 different location of lymph nodes in the body that melanoma can spread to, so I had to create a model of each of those lymph node fields. So what I have done is I have used the Visible Human data again and I’ve located lymph nodes in most of those areas.