Technical note: The design and validation of a multi-modality lung phantom. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Clinically relevant models that enable certain tasks such as calibration of medical imaging devices or techniques, device validation, training healthcare professionals, and more are vital to research throughout the medical field and are referred to as phantoms. Phantoms range in complexity from a vile of water to complex designs that emulate in vivo properties. PURPOSE: Specific phantoms that model the lungs have focused on replication of tissue properties but lack replication of the anatomy. This limits the use across multiple imaging modalities and for device testing when anatomical considerations as well as tissue properties are needed. This work reports a lung phantom design utilizing materials that accurately mimic the ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) properties of in vivo lungs and includes relevant anatomical equivalence. METHODS: The tissue mimicking materials were selected based on published studies of the materials, through qualitative comparisons of the materials with ultrasound imaging, and quantitative MRI relaxation values. A PVC ribcage was used as the structural support. The muscle/fat combined layer and the skin layer were constructed with various types of silicone with graphite powder added as a scattering agent where appropriate. Lung tissue was mimicked with silicone foam. The pleural layer was replicated by the interface between the muscle/fat layer and the lung tissue layer, requiring no additional material. RESULTS: The design was validated by accurately mimicking the distinct tissue layers expected with in vivo lung ultrasound while maintaining tissue-mimicking relaxation values in MRI as compared to reported values. Comparisons between the muscle/fat material and in vivo muscle/fat tissue demonstrated a 1.9% difference in T1 relaxation and a 19.8% difference in T2 relaxation. CONCLUSIONS: Qualitative US and quantitative MRI analysis verified the proposed lung phantom design for accurate modeling of the human lungs.

published proceedings

  • Med Phys

author list (cited authors)

  • Bowen, D. L., Touchet, T. J., Maitland, D. J., & McDougall, M. P.

complete list of authors

  • Bowen, Donald L||Touchet, Tyler J||Maitland, Duncan J||McDougall, Mary P

publication date

  • August 2023