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Supplementary Material for: Freely-Available, True-Color Volume Rendering Software and Cryohistology Data Sets for Virtual Exploration of the Temporal Bone Anatomy

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posted on 09.05.2013, 00:00 by Kahrs L.A., Labadie R.F.
Background: Cadaveric dissection of temporal bone anatomy is not always possible or feasible in certain educational environments. Volume rendering using CT and/or MRI helps understanding spatial relationships, but they suffer in nonrealistic depictions especially regarding color of anatomical structures. Freely available, nonstained histological data sets and software which are able to render such data sets in realistic color could overcome this limitation and be a very effective teaching tool. Methods: With recent availability of specialized public-domain software, volume rendering of true-color, histological data sets is now possible. We present both feasibility as well as step-by-step instructions to allow processing of publicly available data sets (Visible Female Human and Visible Ear) into easily navigable 3-dimensional models using free software. Results: Example renderings are shown to demonstrate the utility of these free methods in virtual exploration of the complex anatomy of the temporal bone. After exploring the data sets, the Visible Ear appears more natural than the Visible Human. Conclusion: We provide directions for an easy-to-use, open-source software in conjunction with freely available histological data sets. This work facilitates self-education of spatial relationships of anatomical structures inside the human temporal bone as well as it allows exploration of surgical approaches prior to cadaveric testing and/or clinical implementation.