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3D-printed lungs in ribcage

Dave Farnham

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Download this image from Wellcome Collection.

Photograph of 3D-printed human lungs inside their ribcage. The lungs and ribcage are viewed from the back with the bones of the spine (vertebrae) visible in the centre. The human spine typically has between 24 and 33 vertebrae, with the ribs attaching to 12 of these in the upper back. The lungs and ribcage belong to Caroline, who was diagnosed with a cancer of the lymphatic system known as Hodgkin lymphoma. The 2D data contained in her computed tomography (CT) scans were converted into 3D renders by the artist, who was then able to export them to a printable format. The 3D print is made from white SLS nylon and measures 14 x 13.5 x 9.5 cm.


Wellcome Trust photography by Ben Gilbert.


Watch this film to hear the story behind this image and to find out how this first 3D print in Wellcome Images’ collections was created.


What is Hodgkin lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, a network of glands and tubes that forms part of the immune system and helps carry immune cells around the body. Approximately 20 per cent of all lymphomas are Hodgkin lymphoma (previously called Hodgkin disease), and the remainder are collectively termed non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Hodgkin lymphoma is relatively rare and most commonly affects adults in their 20s or those over 70 years of age, although it can occur at any age. It is often first discovered as a lump or swelling in one of the lymph nodes in the body and is diagnosed by looking at some of its cells under the microscope to confirm the presence of Reed–Sternberg cells. These are a type of white blood cell (B lymphocyte or B cell) that has turned cancerous and is growing out of control. B cells make antibodies to help fight infections.