A low-cost PVC-based dual-modality kidney phantom

Jeff Young, Maysam Shahedi, James D. Dormer, James D. Johnson, Jeffrey Gahan, Baowei Fei

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Phantoms are invaluable tools broadly used for research and training purposes designed to mimic tissues and structures in the body. In this paper, polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-plasticizer and silicone rubbers were explored as economical materials to reliably create long-lasting, realistic kidney phantoms with contrast under both ultrasound (US) and X-ray imaging. The radiodensity properties of varying formulations of soft PVC-based gels were characterized to allow adjustable image intensity and contrast. Using this data, a phantom creation workflow was established which can be easily adapted to match radiodensity values of other organs and soft tissues in the body. Internal kidney structures such as the medulla and ureter were created using a two-part molding process to allow greater phantom customization. The kidney phantoms were imaged under US and X-ray scanners to compare the contrast enhancement of a PVC-based medulla versus a silicone-based medulla. Silicone was found to have higher attenuation than plastic under X-ray imaging, but poor quality under US imaging. PVC was found to exhibit good contrast under X-ray imaging and excellent performance for US imaging. Finally, the durability and shelf life of our PVC-based phantoms were observed to be vastly superior to that of common agar-based phantoms. The work presented here allows extended periods of usage and storage for each kidney phantom while simultaneously preserving anatomical detail, contrast under dual-modality imaging, and low cost of materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2022
Subtitle of host publicationImage-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling
EditorsCristian A. Linte, Jeffrey H. Siewerdsen
ISBN (Electronic)9781510649439
StatePublished - 2022
EventMedical Imaging 2022: Image-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling - Virtual, Online
Duration: Mar 21 2022Mar 27 2022

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceMedical Imaging 2022: Image-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling
CityVirtual, Online


  • additive manufacturing
  • computed tomography (CT)
  • Kidney phantom
  • mold casting
  • polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • silicone
  • ultrasound imaging renal biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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