Witowski JS, Coles-Black J, Zuzak TZ, Pędziwiatr M, Chuen J, Major P, Budzyński A. 3D printing in liver surgery: a systematic review . Telemedicine and e-Health. 2017,23(12)


Background: Rapid growth of three-dimensional (3D) printing in recent years has led to new applications of this technology across all medical fields. This review article presents a broad range of examples on how 3D printing is facilitating liver surgery, including models for preoperative planning, education, and simulation.

Materials and Methods:We have performed an extensive search of the medical databases Ovid/MEDLINE and PubMed/EMBASE and screened articles fitting the scope of review, following previously established exclusion criteria. Articles deemed suitable were analyzed and data on the 3D-printed models—including both technical properties and desirable application—and their impact on clinical proceedings were extracted.

Results:Fourteen articles, presenting unique utilizations of 3D models, were found suitable for data analysis. A great majority of articles (93%) discussed models used for preoperative planning and intraoperative guidance. PolyJet was the most common (43%) and, at the same time, most expensive 3D printing technology used in the development process. Many authors of reviewed articles reported that models were accurate (71%) and allowed them to understand patient's complex anatomy and its spatial relationships.

Conclusions:Although the technology is still in its early stages, presented models are considered useful in preoperative planning and patient and student education. There are multiple factors limiting the use of 3D printing in everyday healthcare, the most important being high costs and the time-consuming process of development. Promising early results need to be verified in larger randomized trials, which will provide more statistically significant results.

Link to journal: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/tmj.2017.0049