DIY Ultrasound Model: Procedure – Vascular Access

This page summarizes do-it-yourself (DIY) ultrasound models for teaching the procedure of vascular access. Read more on the DIY ultrasound model compendium.

A Reusable Ultrasound Phantom​1​

MaterialsPerspex cylinder, agar gel, ventilator tubing, silicone seal, blue fluid
Estimated CostApproximately $50


A vascular access model is created by drilling holes in a Perspex cylinder and threading ventilator tubing. Silicone seal is used to make the openings watertight. The tubing is filled with blue fluid and the cylinder is filled with agar gelatin. The gelatin can be melted down and emptied to use the model repeatedly.

Ultrasound Phantom for Hands-On Practice​2​

MaterialsPig shoulder and tendon, plastic bag, 70% alcohol solution
Estimated CostNot provided


A nerve model is created by tunneling a pork tendon into a pork shoulder to simulate a nerve. The model is wrapped in para film. The meat base of the model prevents needle tracks and allows the user to inject saline.

Ultrasound-Guided Central Venous Access: A Homemade Phantom for Simulation​3​

MaterialsPan, gelatin, fiber product, penrose drains
Estimated CostNot provided


A pan is first filled ⅓ with gelatin. Penrose drains, filled with fluid and tied off, are then added to the top of the gelatin. More gelatin is poured over the drains until they are no longer visible. Some drains should be filled slightly less so they are compressible and some filled completely to prevent compression to simulate veins and arteries.

Introducing Ultrasound-Guided Vein Catheterization into Clinical Practice: A Step-by-Step Guide for Organizing a Hands-On Training Program with Inexpensive Handmade Models​4​

MaterialsPan, gelatin, latex tubing
Estimated CostLess than $10 per model


Obtain latex tubing of 3 different sizes. The tubes are attached to a piece of cardboard using straight pins. This will ensure the tubes do not float to the surface. The tubes are then placed in a plastic container (cardboard suspended outside of the container). The container is then filled with a gelatin mixture and allowed to set in a refrigerator overnight. Once the gel is firm, the cardboard and pins can be removed.

Ultrasound Venous Access Simulation: The Italian Job​5​

MaterialsPan, gelatin, hollow noodles
Estimated CostLess than $10 per model


Hollow noodles of various sizes are cooked and then placed in a pan, covered with gelatin. The low cost and ease of creation of this innovation allows learners to fully cannulate “vessels.”

The Polony Phantom: A Cost-Effective Aid for Teaching Emergency Ultrasound Procedures​6​

MaterialsPelony meat product, nylon shoelace, drill
Estimated CostNot provided


Vascular and nerve models can be created by drilling a 12 mm hole through plastic encased pelony. The area is filled with water to simulate vessels or a nylon shoelace is fed through to simulate a nerve.

​​​​​​​The Use of Gelatine Models in Ultrasound Guided Intravenous Cannulation

By ​​​​​​​susinfo1 (published on 23 Mar 2011)
MaterialsGelatin, hand mixer, bowel, plastic container, lubricant, drill, plastic tubing
Estimated CostNot provided


Start by drilling holes into a plastic container that fits plastic tubes. The plastic tubes are inserted through the holes. The gelatin is poured around the tubes until they are covered by several centimeters of gel. The gelatin is allowed to set in the refrigerator. The tubes are then removed and the gel is popped out of the plastic container. The gel is then placed in another plastic container and covered with water enough to fill the tubes to simulate vessels.

A Low Cost Reusable Phantom For Ultrasound Guided Subclavian Vein Cannulation​7​

MaterialsPlastic container, gelatin, millet flour, plastic tubing, plastic rod
Estimated CostNot provided


Two latex tubes are filled with red and blue water. They are attached to the bottom of the plastic container which is then filled with gelatin, which is mixed with millet flour to provide an opaque model. A plastic rod is placed on top to represent the clavicle, and another layer of gel is added.

​​​​​​​Homemade Ultrasound IV Model

​​​​​​​Siegfried Emme ​​​​​(published on 30 Nov 2012)
MaterialsGelatin, fiber psyllium, ¼ inch penrose drain, plastic container
Estimated Cost$5


Add one layer of fiber/ gelatin mix to the plastic container and chill until set. Fill each penrose drain with water, placing knots in each end. Lay the penrose drains on the gelatin, and then pour a second layer gelatin/ fiber mix.. All the model to set before use.

Ultrasound Phantoms Made of Gelatin Covered with Hydrocolloid Skin Dressing​8​

Materials2 shallow rectangular polyvinyl chloride (PVC) containers, 1 latex rubber tube, and 2 patches of hydrocolloid skin dressings, pipette bulb, kitchen clip, gelatin powder, and sugar-free psyllium fiber
Estimated CostNot provided


After drilling holes in one of the plastic containers, insert the latex tubing through the holes. Fill the latex tubing with fluid, clamping both ends. Fill the container with a gelatin psyllium fiber mix and chill to set. An abscess aspiration model can be made by filling the pipette bulb with water, clamping, and covering with the gelatin/ psyllium fiber mix.

Homemade IV Access Ultrasound Phantom​9​

MaterialsGelatin, psyllium (sugar free), /14 inch penrose drains, measuring cup, whisk, plastic container
Estimated Cost$7/ model


Spray the inside of the plastic container with non-stick spray. Place one layer of gelatin into the model and allow it to chill. While the gelatin is chilling, cut a penrose drain in half to form two 9 inch pieces. Tie off one end of each drain and fill with water, trying to get out all the air. Tie off the other end of the penrose drains. Place the drains on top of the chilled gelatin. You may use a paperclip to tack them down. Pour another layer of slightly cooled gelatin on top and allow to chill to set. After 2 hours, the model can be flipped and the gel can be removed from the container. It is ready to use.

Advanced Low-Cost Ultrasound-Guided Vascular Access Simulation: The Chicken Breast Model​10​

MaterialsChicken breast, bleach, penrose drain, 2-0 suture, 3-way-stop-cock
Estimated CostNot provided


A chicken breast is decontaminated by placing in a container with diluted bleach solution for 5 seconds. Tweezers are used to create a tunnel. The penrose drain is inserted and secured with 2-0 silk suture. Tap water is instilled through a stop-cock and the model is ready for use. The chicken breast tissue allows for multiple needle insertion without the creation of phantom tracks.

Gelatin Model for Training Ultrasound-Guided Puncture​11​

MaterialsGelatin, 1.8 L plastic container, drill, 2 hole cutters, 2 plastic tubes, hot glue gun, a spoon
Estimated CostNot provided


Two holes are drilled into each end of a plastic container, and the tubes are inserted. The gelatin is poured over the tubes and allowed to set in the refrigerator. The tubes are removed, and the gelatin model is removed from the plastic container. The mold is then placed into another plastic receptacle which can be filled with water to the top of the empty “vessels” to fill them with fluid.

A Novel and Inexpensive Ballistic Gel Phantom for Ultrasound Training​12​

Materials1 lb ballistic gel, plastic containers, plumbing tubing, drill bit
Estimated CostNot provided


Cut the ballistic gel into approximately 1 inch cubes. Place the cubes in an oven-safe dish at 260 degrees F and heat until all the cubes have melted. Drill holes in both sides of the plastic container corresponding to the size of the tubing so the tubes may be inserted through the container. Apply a nonstick agent to the tubes before insertion. Once the gel is liquid, pour it into the plastic container, over the tubing. Use caution to agitate the gel as little as possible as this will create air bubbles. Let the gel set overnight. Finally, remove the tubes from the gel and remove the gel from the container. Place the gel in another container. Fill with water to the level of the top of the “vessels” before use.

Editor note: The benefit of ballistic gel is that it can be melted and reused, though I have not used non-stick products with the gel before and am unsure of how that might impact the quality of the gel. Unfortunately, bubbles are more difficult to remove from the ballistic gel. Use a very sharp knife to cut the gel, preferably with a serrated edge.

​​​​​​​UGIV Simulator: 5 Minute Sonoblog​1,13​

MaterialsBallistic gel, drill, bread loaf pan, countersink bit, latex tubing, flask funnels, dowels, crock pot, knife, syringe
Estimated CostNot provided


Drill holes slightly smaller than latex tubing into both sides of a bread loaf pan. Insert the latex tube through either side. Cut the gel into approximately 1 inch cubes and place in a crockpot on high until melted. Fill the tubing with water and fill the pan liquid with ballistic gel. Allow to cool overnight then model is ready to use.

Cost-Effective, Reusable, Leak-Resistant Ultrasound-Guided Vascular Access Trainer​14​

MaterialsBallistic gel, heating equipment, temperature probe, 60 mL syringe, hemostat, packing tape, latex tubing, hemostat, packing tape
Estimated CostNot provided


Tie off one end of each latex tube and tape that end to the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch pan. Melt the ballistic gel by cutting it into 1 inch cubes and placing in a heat source. This could be an oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit, on a stove top on low, or in a slow cooker. Pour one layer and allow it to cool before adding a second layer. Once cooled, the model can be removed from the pan. Inject fluid into the latex vessels.

An Affordable and Easily Constructed Model for Training in Ultrasound Guided Vascular Access​15​

MaterialsModelling balloons, silicone tubing, a Pezzer tube, food coloring, 50 mL syringe, plastic container, chicken breast, plastic wrap, tube clamps, zip tie, 3-way tap
Estimated CostNot provided


Vessels of various sizes are simulated by filling the modeling balloon, silicone tubing, or Pezzer tube with red fluid. The tubes are clamped at the ends if needed (tied off in the case of the balloon) and are placed between 2 chicken breasts. Models should be discarded after use.

Wrapping the breasts in cling wrap may prevent some of the contamination issues associated with raw meat.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Aventura: DIY US Phantom

Aventura (published on 7 July 2016)
MaterialsWax paper, plastic container, gelatin, psyllium, penrose drain
Estimated CostNot provided


Use gelatin and psyllium to form a layer on the bottom of the plastic container. Allow this layer to set. Take the penrose drain and cut it in half. Tie each end, after filling them with water, and place on the cooled gelatin layer. Create another gelatin/ psyllium mix and pour over the penrose drains. Allow to set in the refrigerator.

Tip: Using sugar-free psyllium will require less psyllium to achieve the desired effect.

Agar Ultrasound Phantoms for Low-Cost Training without Refrigeration​16​

MaterialsAgar, latex tubing, wheat flour
Estimated CostNot provided


Mix the agar in cold water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Pour 1 layer into a shallow container and allow to set at room temperature. Take penrose drains and tie of the ends after filling with fluid. Lay them on the first agar layer. Then pour another layer of the agar wheat mixture over the top of the penrose drains, which will now simulate vessels.

An Easily Assembled Phantom for Teaching Ultrasound-Guided Vascular Access​17​

Materials250 mL bag of normal saline, spinal needle, foley catheter, methylene blue
Estimated CostNot provided

A 250 mL bag of normal saline is placed on top of a foley catheter filled with methylene blue and placed in a basin. The needle is advanced under ultrasound guidance to penetrate the foley, which acts as the vessel. The authors report that although the saline will leak, the leaks are small enough for multiple cannulations over several hours.

Construction of 3-Dimensional Printed Ultrasound Phantoms With Wall-less Vessels​18​

Materials3D printed rectangular chamber, agar, tubing
Estimated Cost$64


A 3D printer was used to create a 3D rectangular chamber with multiple holes in which to place the tubing. The chamber is filled with agar solution. After the solution is allowed to set, the tubing is removed and the residual chambers are filled with fluid to simulate vessels.

Hog Fat… Is There Anything It Cannot Do?​19​

MaterialsPork belly or skin, long balloon
Estimated CostNot provided


Take a long balloon, like those used for making balloon animals, and fill it with water (but do not distend the balloon). After cutting a pork belly into 2×6 inch strips, use a pencil or straight clamp to bluntly dissect a tunnel into each. Finally, insert the fluid-filled balloon into the pork skin.

Because model does suffer from potential contamination issues associated with raw meat, consider wrapping in plastic wrap to avoid probe contamination.

How To: DIY Ultrasound Guided Peripheral IV Phantom​20​

MaterialsWater, psyllium, gelatin, citric acid, blue food coloring, animal balloons, red food coloring, plastic container
Estimated CostNot provided

Cut slits in both sides of a plastic container that will anchor the ends of long, thin animal balloons allowing them to be suspended in the middle of the model. Insert the balloons and fill them with red-dyed water enough to occlude the container holes but not enough to distend the balloons.

Prepare the gelatin with 500 mL of water and 40 grams of gelatin. Add 20 grams of psyllium, 1 tablespoon of blue food coloring, and 1 tablespoon of citric acid. Pour over the balloon vessels and allow to set in the refrigerator overnight.

Be sure to use the sugar free psyllium preparations so less is required.

Chicken Breast Vascular Access Simulator​21​

MaterialsChicken breast, wooden skewer, latex tube (penrose drain), kelly forceps, syringe
Estimated CostNot provided


Tie off one end of the latex tubing. Load the tubing over a wooden skewer. Use the skewer to tunnel through the chicken breast. Once the tied end of the tube is through the other end of the chicken, grasp and remove the wooden skewer. Use the syringe to fill the tube with fluid and then clamp the end. The model is now ready to use.

Note: There is a helpful 3-minute video tutorial to demonstrate this technique. Also to avoid potential probe contamination consider wrapping the meat in plastic wrap.

Updated April 21, 2019


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Dallas Holladay, DO

Dallas Holladay, DO

Assistant Professor and Clerkship Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
Rush University
Dallas Holladay, DO


Come for the medical education, stay for the cat memes.