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3D Head and Neck

The 3D head and neck is a pioneering collaborative project between NES and the Glasgow School of Art's School of Simulation and Visualisation to develop interactive visualisation materials for clinical teaching

The 3D visualisation project will develop an anatomically accurate model of a head and neck which will include:

  • skeleton
  • nerve supply
  • blood supply
  • lymphatic drainage
  • muscle
  • supporting tissues

3D skeletal structure

Each significant component of the 3D head will be 'tagged' with clinical information that can be accessed in an intuitive and informative manner.

3D Dental education training

Students will be able to view, manipulate and interact with the 3D head in real-time.  Students will learn about human anatomy by 'virtually' deconstructing anatomical structures and sub-structures.


Virtual training improving patient care through partnership

The 3D head and neck project will develop novel haptic technology.  This means once complete, students will be provided with force feedback through a hand-held haptic tool (representing a syringe) which will enable trainees.  This means that student dental staff will be able to 'realistically' to practice realistically the procedure of giving the virtual patient the inferior alveolar (dental) anaesthesia injection.

This should improve the accuracy of their administration of anesthesia and oral care with zero risk to the patient.

Virtual head lower jaw

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) has a pivotal role in this exciting 3D head and neck project as the principal project sponsor and is passionate about supporting innovative education and training for NHSScotland staff for improved patient care.

The final phase of the 3D Head project will include the development of various common oral head and neck disease processes which will be included in the model.

The technical development of this project will be lead by the Digital Design Studio at Glasgow School of Art and is a partnership between leading academics at the University of Glasgow's School of Anatomy and Dentistry.

Key facts about the 3D Head and neck

  • This is the highest resolution (10μm) 3D model of a human male head and neck currently available in the world
  • This model can be manipulated in three dimensions, realistically in 'real-time' (fully interactive by the student) due to fast data rendering
  • This model also includes dynamic transparency (as shown below)

Healthcare training benefits

This digital resource has key benefits for training of healthcare professionals including:

  • Multiple applications for anatomical datasets across medical, dental and allied health professions training
  • Immediate identification of related anatomical structures, from superficial to deep thus allowing easy identification of structures that may be at risk from medical or surgical interventions
  • Identification of 3D anatomical structures can be clearly appreciated
  • Interactive tools can be easily adapted to the relevant training scenario

For further information on the 3D head and neck project please contact:

This project is being developed in partnership with the School of Simulation and Visualisation at Glasgow School of Art and the University of Glasgow.

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