The 3D Imaging Lab celebrates 20 years of operation

May 17, 2023  //  FOUND IN: News,

The Radiology Department’s 3D Imaging Lab is celebrating 20 years of operation this month.

In spring 2003, radiologists Joel Platt, M.D., and Ella Kazerooni, M.D., saw the value in having a dedicated lab with a team of experts to create images from CT and MRI studies full-time. This technology would save the radiologists valuable time, allowing them to read more cases. After Platt and Kazerooni tirelessly championed radiology leadership, a 3D lab began, and through their support and advocacy has continued to expand and grow from a two staff team to 18 team members today working year-round to support patient care.

Now, the lab routinely processes around 4,500 billable exams a month with a record of 5,175 exams in March 2023 alone. The exams range from coronary CT, brain fiber tracking, 3D biliary imaging and orthopaedic applications. 

The team is an important component of the 3D printing program. Their 3D modeling led to the 3D printing used in planning for a procedure to separate conjoined twins in 2020. 

The lab has collaborated with multiple departments within Michigan Medicine, including the Multidisciplinary Aortic Program and Structural Heart Programs at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center, transplant surgery and neurology to name a few. The true value of the lab has been shown in what they can provide for physicians and patients.

For physicians, their services have resulted in reduced OR time, decreased operative stress, decreased time to make prosthetic molds, custom sizing of endovascular devices, and creating communication and education tools with patients and incidental findings. For patients, they have been able to offer an increase in patient safety with spinal stability, less time under anesthesia, decreased complication rates, and decreased pain and discomfort after operation.

“The advanced processing and data from the lab have become so essential to daily work across many divisions it might be easy to take this operation for granted,” Platt said. “As we recognize 20 years of the lab, I would like to celebrate the team members and the contribution they make to patient care here at Michigan Medicine. No new venture succeeds without vision, hard work and leadership and we can thank Karen Barber for that leadership from lab inception to the current state of our highly functioning section.”

The lab’s latest service expansion includes 3D printing, which is playing an important role in pre-operative planning, as an education tool for patients, residents and fellows, and as anatomic guides used in the OR.

The department wants to thank those who have helped the lab become what it is today. 

“If I were to give a special thanks, I would thank to Joel Platt, M.D., and Ella Kazerooni, M.D. for starting us on our journey all those years ago,” said Karen Barber, the manager of the 3D lab who has been with the lab since its beginning. “I also want to thank radiology faculty and administrative leadership for continuing to support our mission, my team for their dedication to the work we do and our patients, and Dr. Weadock for implementing and supporting a 3D printing service.”

When asked what impresses her the most about the 3D lab, Kazerooni said, “It’s not just what they do, but how they do it, and that starts with the impressive leadership of Karen Barber. Every member of the 3D lab team is the embodiment of customer-service oriented and have an impressive growth mindset to explore and investigate new ideas and requests from both our radiologists and referring services!”

Congratulations to our Advanced Image Processing Specialists for all their hard work over the past two decades!