The oral tongue and floor of mouth in three dimensions (3D): A digital anatomical model derived from radiology, peer-reviewed literature, and medical illustration

Published:October 21, 2022DOI:
      Combining published literature, radiographic imaging, and medical illustration, this study aimed to develop an anatomically accurate 3-dimensional (3D) digital model of the human tongue, and to make this model publicly available for education and training purposes. The intrinsic and extrinsic muscles of the tongue were manually segmented from a head and neck CT angiogram of a healthy 29-year-old female. Data derived from published anatomical studies were compiled to provide additional anatomical detail to each tongue muscle. These anatomical details were then incorporated into a model by a 3D medical illustrator. A total of nine muscles were segmented for this study, along with the mandible and the hyoid bone. 3D meshes of the extrinsic muscles of the tongue, intrinsic muscles of the tongue, and the mylohyoid were created from CT angiography segmentation data. These meshes were refined in digital 3D space based off data from peer-reviewed anatomical studies. The final model was then uploaded to a publicly available 3D model repository. The tongue is a complex 3D organ with important roles in swallowing, speaking, and airway protection. By combining radiographic data with published anatomical descriptions, and through the collaboration between neuroradiology, head and neck surgery, and medical illustration, we developed an anatomically accurate, detailed 3D model of the oral tongue, which may serve as a powerful anatomy teaching aid.


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