MRI for transformation of preserved organs and their pathologies into digital formats for medical education and creation of a virtual pathology museum. A pilot study

S. K. Venkatesh, G. Wang, J. E. Seet, L. L.S. Teo, V. F.H. Chong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aim: To evaluate the feasibility of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the transformation of preserved organs and their disease entities into digital formats for medical education and creation of a virtual museum. Materials and methods: MRI of selected 114 pathology specimen jars representing different organs and their diseases was performed using a 3 T MRI machine with two or more MRI sequences including three-dimensional (3D) T1-weighted (T1W), 3D-T2W, 3D-FLAIR (fluid attenuated inversion recovery), fat-water separation (DIXON), and gradient-recalled echo (GRE) sequences. Qualitative assessment of MRI for depiction of disease and internal anatomy was performed. Volume rendering was performed on commercially available workstations. The digital images, 3D models, and photographs of specimens were archived into a workstation serving as a virtual pathology museum. Results: MRI was successfully performed on all specimens. The 3D-T1W and 3D-T2W sequences demonstrated the best contrast between normal and pathological tissues. The digital material is a useful aid for understanding disease by giving insights into internal structural changes not apparent on visual inspection alone. Volume rendering produced vivid 3D models with better contrast between normal tissue and diseased tissue compared to real specimens or their photographs in some cases. The digital library provides good illustration material for radiological-pathological correlation by enhancing pathological anatomy and information on nature and signal characteristics of tissues. In some specimens, the MRI appearance may be different from corresponding organ and disease in vivo due to dead tissue and changes induced by prolonged contact with preservative fluid. Conclusions: MRI of pathology specimens is feasible and provides excellent images for education and creating a virtual pathology museum that can serve as permanent record of digital material for self-directed learning, improving teaching aids, and radiological-pathological correlation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e114-e122
JournalClinical Radiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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