An application of 3D-CT reconstruction techniques to study fetal craniofacial growth and development in the pigtailed macaque (Macaca nemestrina)

3D-CT reconstructed images are commonly used to evaluate trauma patients and, to plan and surgically manage craniofacial syndromes. Furthermore, these techniques are nondestructive and therefore are ideal to study rare museum specimens. To date, 3D-CT reconstruction techniques have been use to study human postnatal craniofacial growth, intracranial morphology, dental development in fossil hominids, and to estimate intracranial volumes. In this research, the growth of the fetal craniofacial complex the pigtailed macaque is visualized using three dimensional images reconstructed from two dimensional computed tomographic slice data.

Six males, spanning the fetal period, were chosen from the Primate Fetal Collection housed at SUNY Buffalo which was recently acquired from The Regional Primate Center at Seattle, Washington. Since these fetuses were obtained from timed-mated, termed pregnancies, the ages are known to within +/- 1 post-ovulatory day. The ages of the animals used in this study are: 61, 80, 95, 137, 155, 170 days. Birth for this species is estimated at 170 days. All animals were preserved in a 10% formalin solution.

Each animal was placed onto the CT-scanner table, positioned by the author, and scanned at 120 kv, a scan time of 2 seconds, 1.5 mm slice thickness, a field of view of 10, and a 512 x 512 matrix size. Slices were contiguous and made every 1 mm. The CT-scanner used in this study is a General Electric 9800 series with third generation geometry and is located at Millard Fillmore Hospital, Gates Circle, in Buffalo. All image data is stored on 9-track magnetic tape. Images are obtained by transferring the images from the 9-track tape to a three dimensional reconstruction program called Voxel View (ver 2.1.1, Vital Images software) which runs on a Silicon Graphics Indigo Workstation located in the Department of Anatomy at SUNY Buffalo.

Imaging results from this study provide excellent detail of all external and internal craniofacial bony anatomy, especially the petrous portion of the temporal bone, basicranium, dentition, and functional spaces. Sutures are also well defined. Finally, animation sequences of each skull rotating around a 360 degree axis were assembled and outputted to video tape. The video animations will accompany this poster presentation.

This work was supported by NIH grants DE02918, RR00166, HD08633, HD10356, HL19187.