Purpose: Today, synthetic models have all but replaced animal and corpse models in examining damage to soft-tissues and skeletal structures by ballistic trauma. As, however, non-solid organs such as the lungs, have not been able to be replaced by a fully synthetic model we attempted to create such a model.
Material and methods: 20% ordnance gelatine was frothed with a household mixer and cooled to stable foam. Several of these foam blocks were then stuck together with liquid gelatine and placed between 10% gelatine blocks. As controls, we embedded pig lungs in gelatine and compared the wound channels seen in computed tomography created upon shooting with 9 mm Luger.
Results: The fully synthetic models displayed radiological and physical densities comparable to real lungs. The wound profile characteristics of the fully synthetic lung models were very similar to the semisynthetic swine-gelatine models regarding the permanent wound cavity. Furthermore, in both semi- and fully synthetic models we detected a ring surrounding the permanent wound channel, most likely representing the remnants of the temporary wound cavity.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that this fully synthetic lung model is a viable substitute for ballistic experiments on lungs. We believe that further research on the temporary wound channel in lungs is possible with this model in order to provide more insight into the effect of ballistic trauma to the lungs not seen otherwise.