There is a growing body of evidence to suggest the arthritic hip is an irregularly-shaped, aspherical joint, especially in severely pathological cases. Current methods used to study the shape and motion of the hip in-vivo, are invasive and impractical. This study aimed to assess whether a plastic model of the hip joint can be accurately made from a pelvic CT scan. A cadaver hemi-pelvis was CT imaged and segmented from which a 3D plastic model of the proximal femur and hemi-pelvis were fabricated using rapid-prototyping. Both the plastic model and the cadaver were then imaged using a high-resolution laser scanner. A three-way shape analysis was performed to compare the goodness-of-fit between the cadaver, image segmentation, and the plastic model. Overall, we obtained sub-millimeter fit accuracy between all three hip representations. Shape fit was least favorable in areas where the boundary between cartilage and bone is difficult to distinguish. We submit that rapid-prototyping is an accurate and efficient mechanism for obtaining 3D specimens as a means to further study the irregular geometry of the hip.
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