Application of 3d printing in preoperative planning

Nicole Segaran, Gia Saini, Joseph L. Mayer, Sailen Naidu, Indravadan Patel, Sadeer Alzubaidi, Rahmi Oklu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Preoperative planning is critical for success in the surgical suite. Current techniques for surgical planning are limited; clinicians often rely on prior experience and medical imaging to guide the decision-making process. Furthermore, two-dimensional (2D) presentations of anatomical struc-tures may not accurately portray their three-dimensional (3D) complexity, often leaving physicians ill-equipped for the procedure. Although 3D postprocessed images are an improvement on tradi-tional 2D image sets, they are often inadequate for surgical simulation. Medical 3D printing is a rapidly expanding field and could provide an innovative solution to current constraints of preoperative planning. As 3D printing becomes more prevalent in medical settings, it is important that clinicians develop an understanding of the technologies, as well as its uses. Here, we review the fun-damentals of 3D printing and key aspects of its workflow. The many applications of 3D printing for preoperative planning are discussed, along with their challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number917
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • 3D printing
  • Anatomical models
  • Medical imaging
  • Preoperative planning
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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