New CT technology will help researchers improve accuracy of 3D reconstructions

Wednesday, May 10, 2017



For years dentists have been using CBCT to improve treatment planning for their patients. Now a scaled down version of the technology might be about to improve the work of dental researchers. A new paper has been published by researchers at Harvard Medical School, who used micro-CT technology to improve the accuracy of 3D histology tissue modelling. This kind of modelling can be used to better understand the effects of treatment methods.


Micro-CT is a method of 3D imaging similar to CT scans but on a smaller scale and with much higher resolution. It has been used for years in fields such as aircraft engineering and microprocessor production but is an emerging technology in the biomedical field.

3D histology imaging is an analytical technique designed to examine tissue at a cellar level. To create a 3D reconstruction a tissue sample is typically fixed using formalin solution and then embedded in paraffin wax. This stabilises the tissue and makes it easy to cut sections from. These sections are then stained with a special solution and scanned with a 3D imaging machine.

This can be a useful tool for examining tissue but the accuracy of the process was previously unknown. In order to better understand it, the researchers introduced micro-CT into the 3D histology imaging workflow. They imaged three types of tissue samples: mouse brain, human lung tissue and human uterus tissue. These tissues were analysed using micro-CT before and after being embedded with paraffin to compare how tissue changes during this process.

The results demonstrated that micro-CT imaging is beneficial to creating 3D histological models thanks to its ability identify where tissue is being lost or damaged during the process. The authors conclude that including micro-CT imaging in the 3D histology imaging workflow will help reduce errors and improve reconstruction accuracy. This paper was published in Pathobiology.