Advanced Imaging and Modeling Lab

Since 2013, the Advanced Imaging and Modeling Lab has grown beyond imagination. It's produced more than 200 3D modeled hearts for surgical planning within OSF HealthCare and another 50 for well-known medical institutions around the country.


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To use 3D printing or virtual reality in pre-surgical planning, the Advanced Imaging and Modeling (AIM) Lab has perfected its process of converting patient specific medical images (CT, MRI) into segmented anatomy that is relevant to the medical decision making pathway.
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In 2018, the lab developed an automated segmentation process to view 3D heart images in virtual and augmented reality at no cost to patients across the nation. It also created VR software for medical education. However, there is still much more work to do.

How might we envision 3D modeling technologies to provide insight into future models of care?

As the AIM lab looks towards the future, it's expanding its VR work to other disciplines such as surgical oncology, including liver and pancreatic cancer cases as well as pediatric hematology and oncology. To date, nearly 50% of oncology cases evaluated in VR resulted in changes to the surgical plan. As the AIM lab continues to build its inventory of cancer cases for both adults and children, it is also expanding its automated segmentation process to all anatomy and pathology. 

In addition to surgical planning, the AIM lab continues to build and help medical education faculty build VR training modules for nurses, medical students and residents. Surveys indicate this mode of learning reduces the time it takes to create an anatomy lecture by at least 75% on average. Learners surveyed on VR education say the platform allows for distraction-free education, it replicates a one-on-one learning experience and they've touted the value of interacting with 3D objects in the lecture.

Modeling the future

  • Operationalizing use of VR: The AIM lab has exhibited the value of using VR for both surgical planning and medical education. Now, it's looking for ways to fund this work through existing reimbursement patterns. This will be realized through the creation of an Advanced Segmentation Team that will provide services clinically as well as for research. The goal is to make use of VR as the standard of care, not just for cardiac surgical planning, but for all complex surgeries.
  • COVID-19 VR modules: A large percentage of medical training is the experience of seeing the wide and varied presentations of various diseases. However, due to the dangers of caring for people with COVID-19, medical students haven't been able to observe treatment of this virus. As a result, the AIM lab is converting existing in-person simulations into VR modules, so students can still see a mild, moderate and severe presentation of COVID. The idea is to create mental representations of what clinicians are experiencing daily. This work was presented to a national audience at the Association of American Medical Colleges national meeting.

Help us accelerate use of 3D modeling technologies in all areas of health care!

If you are interested in learning more about the Advance Imaging and Modeling Lab, participating in certain aspects of the journey or if you want to invest or partner, contact us today.

Leading the Way

Matthew Bramlet, MD

Matthew Bramlet, MD, Pediatric Cardiologist, AIM Lab Director


Alexa Waltz, Project Manager, AIM Lab


Connor Davey, Innovation Engineer


Reid Jockisch, Innovation Engineer


Sister M. Pieta Keller, FSGM, Innovation Engineer


John Vozenilek, MD, FACEP