Three-Dimensional Printing and Medical Education: A Narrative Review of the Literature

Main Article Content

Michael Peppis Bartellas


Objectives: Three-dimensional (3D) printing has emerged in the past decade as a promising tool for the world of medicine. The focus of this article is to review how 3D printed models have been used in medical education.

Methods: PubMed was the article database used, and the search criteria included the terms 3D printing and education. The exclusion criteria filtered out articles that were older than ten years, were not in English, and did not target a human population. There were 90 discovered articles, and 38 appropriate articles were determined after reviewing titles and abstracts.

Results: Three main themes emerged from this review: general medical education, surgical education, and patient education. The more specific findings can be further divided into: using 3D printed models for teaching anatomy and simulation training; and preop­erative planning, intraoperative guidance, and postoperative evaluation.

Conclusions: The general consensus was that 3D haptic modelling was a useful tool for educating trainees, staff physicians, and pa­tients. The models helped in increasing participants’ understanding of anatomy and pathologies, and improving trainee skill set and confidence. There is much support to continue research in this area and to further develop ways in which 3D printing can help improve medical education.



Objectifs : L’impression tridimensionnelle (3D) s’annonce comme un outil prometteur pour le monde de la médecine. Le présent ar­ticle révisera comment les méthodes d’impression 3D ont été utilisées dans l’éducation médicale.

Méthodes : La base de données utilisée pour les articles fut PubMed et les critères de recherche ont inclus les termes impression 3D et éducation. Les critères d’exclusion ont omis des articles qui dataient de plus de dix ans, qui n’étaient pas en anglais, et qui n’avaient pas comme cible la population humaine. Il y a 90 articles qui furent trouvés en tout et 38 de ces articles ont été jugés adéquats pour la révision.

Résultats : Trois grands thèmes ont été ressortis lors de cette révision : éducation médicale générale, éducation chirurgicale, et éduca­tion des patients. De façon plus précise, les thèmes spécifiques suivants furent dégagés : l’utilisation d’impression de modèles 3D pour l’enseignement de l’anatomie et la formation par simulation, la préparation préopératoire, le guide intraopératoire, et l’évaluation postopératoire.

Conclusion : Les modèles haptiques 3D étaient reconnus comme un outil efficace pour éduquer les stagiaires, les médecins, et les patients. Ces modèles ont aidé à augmenter la compréhension de l’anatomie et de la pathologie des participants et ont augmenté la confiance et les habiletés des stagiaires. Ces preuves démontrent l’importance de continuer la recherche dans ce domaine afin de développer davantage de façons d’optimiser l’éducation médicale à l’aide de l’impression tridimensionnelle.

Article Details

Review & Clinical Practice


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