Recent expansions in the development and availability of three-dimensional printing (3Dp) have resulted in the increasing use of such technology within the modern context of medical education, the concept being that accurate and appropriate anatomical models can be created from CT and MRI scans for the purposes of teaching and training. This article reviews the recent primary literature to examine the evidence for the effectiveness of 3Dp implementation in medical education and training, as well as the potential obstacles. To emphasise its wider applications within medicine, the role of 3Dp in clinical practice and research have also been examined. To identify recent literature appropriate for this review, suitable search terms were applied using PubMed and results were judged against an established checklist. The research identified was then classified under the agreed topics: anatomy education, surgical training, medical usage and medical research. The focus of the work was driven by undergraduate students in collaboration with anatomy and medical educators, utilising a student partnership approach. Preliminary findings from this narrative review support the implementation of 3Dp in anatomy education and surgical training as a supplement to traditional learning approaches.
Excerpt written by: Elgin Lee