Lichtenberger JP, Tatum PS, Gada S, Wyn M, Ho VB, Liacouras P. Using 3D printing (additive manufacturing) to produce low-cost simulation models for medical training. Military Medicine. 2018,1;183(suppl_1):73-77


Objectives: This work describes customized, task-specific simulation models derived from 3D printing in clinical settings and medical professional training programs.
Methods: Simulation models/task trainers have an array of purposes and desired achievements for the trainee, defining that these are the first step in the production process. After this purpose is defined, computer-aided design and 3D printing (additive manufacturing) are used to create a customized anatomical model. Simulation models then undergo initial in-house testing by medical specialists followed by a larger scale beta testing. Feedback is acquired, via surveys, to validate effectiveness and to guide or determine if any future modifications and/or improvements are necessary.
Results: Numerous custom simulation models have been successfully completed with resulting task trainers designed for procedures, including removal of ocular foreign bodies, ultrasound-guided joint injections, nerve block injections, and various suturing and reconstruction procedures. These task trainers have been frequently utilized in the delivery of simulation-based training with increasing demand.
Conclusions: 3D printing has been integral to the production of limited-quantity, low-cost simulation models across a variety of medical specialties. In general, production cost is a small fraction of a commercial, generic simulation model, if available. These simulation and training models are customized to the educational need and serve an integral role in the education of our military health professionals.

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