Three-dimensional printing: review of application in medicine and hepatic surgery

Rui Yao, Gang Xu, Shuang-Shuang Mao, Hua-Yu Yang, Xin-Ting Sang, Wei Sun, Yi-Lei Mao


Three-dimensional (3D) printing (3DP) is a rapid prototyping technology that has gained increasing recognition in many differentfields. Inherent accuracy and low-cost property enable applicability of 3DP in many areas, such as manufacturing, aerospace,medical, and industrial design. Recently, 3DP has gained considerable attention in the medical field. The image data can be quicklyturned into physical objects by using 3DP technology. These objects are being used across a variety of surgical specialties. Theshortage of cadaver specimens is a major problem in medical education. However, this concern has been solved with theemergence of 3DP model. Custom-made items can be produced by using 3DP technology. This innovation allows 3DP use inpreoperative planning and surgical training. Learning is difficult among medical students because of the complex anatomicalstructures of the liver. Thus, 3D visualization is a useful tool in anatomy teaching and hepatic surgical training. However,conventional models do not capture haptic qualities. 3DP can produce highly accurate and complex physical models. Many typesof human or animal differentiated cells can be printed successfully with the development of 3D bio-printing technology. Thisprogress represents a valuable breakthrough that exhibits many potential uses, such as research on drug metabolism or liverdisease mechanism. This technology can also be used to solve shortage of organs for transplant in the future.


3D printing technology; 3D bio-printing technology; surgery; education; hepatic surgery

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