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Rights: The University of Waikato
Published 29 July 2008

Hayley Reynolds (Auckland Bioengineering Institute) outlines the practical clinical benefits of the 3D model for doctors and their patients.


The model itself would be useful for doctors around the world who maybe don't have access to lymphoscintigraphy. So they wouldn't be able to tell their patient where their cancer is likely to spread to for each individual case, because they might not have access to the technology. So with this model, they would be able to use it and determine the statistically likely regions their cancer will spread to, and possibly treat their patients accordingly. It would also be useful for doctors when they're talking to their patients, being able to educate patients about their different treatment options. Also letting them know the anatomy of the lymphatic system and the way that the melanoma spreads would be quite useful.

I’m also looking at installing some of the software onto the computers over in Australia so that the doctors can record their lymphoscintigraphy data in 3D straight away. The lymphoscintigraphy data was recorded in two dimensions. One of the benefits of creating a software tool that the doctors can use to record their data in the future is the fact that they will be able to have more accuracy in terms of where the melanoma sites are located.

A problem with the data on the torso and the legs, because it was in 2D and we've mapped it onto 3D. It’s meant that we have very few cases on the lateral sides of the legs and the lateral sides of the torso. It wasn’t because patients have less sites on the lateral sides of the body, it’s simply a… a side effect of the recording that they’ve carried out.

So, once this software has been developed and they’re able to use it, we’ll be more confident about lymphatic drainage patterns of the entire body, and we will have more data to work with as well.

Dr Roger Uren