Micro-CT Imaging Reconstructs the Tree of Life: Understanding Placental Blood Flow
“The reconstructed geometry was an incredibly beautiful, complex and detailed network of blood vessels. Mimics provides a new dimension for researchers, clinicians and bio-engineers to understand the anatomy of the most complex organs such as the placenta.”
Nikhilesh created a sub-volume of the network in order to reduce the size of the model for computational fluid dynamics, and used the centerline tools in Mimics to obtain a path for the blood flow for each vessel. He then exported the models from Mimics and used STAR-CCM+ from Siemens to create computational meshes.
Findings of the research
The CFD simulation he ran shows that where bifurcation occurs, frictional forces are the strongest. These biomechanical blood forces dictate how the vascular tree structure will develop to meet the evolving needs of the fetus during late pregnancy, says Nikhilesh, adding that these patterns can now help us further understand the physiology of the placenta.
This works represents the innovative beginning of understanding placental blood flow, and how this could later be translated into clinical applications. Applying 3D modelling to the placental blood flow of a human placenta could help better predict its vascular structure expansion and even prevent pathological disorders in pregnancy.
The placenta’s ephemeral state has long been the subject of folklore in many cultures. Although this innovative research is still in its infancy, the knowledge it already provides in the field of placental hemodynamics sets the foundation for a comprehensive understanding of the placental vascular network. While we can still be in awe at the placenta’s vital role during pregnancy, eat it as part of a ritual, plant it under a tree or simply discard it after birth, science and mathematics can start clarifying its mysteries.
While Mimics provides state of the art tools for 3D modelling, Materialise wants to support you, fellow researchers, every step of the way in getting tangible results. Now it’s your turn to submit your paper and share with us what you’ve been working on! We’re very much looking forward to your ideas! Not using Materialise software yet and interested how it can help further your research? Don’t hesitate to contact us!