Three-dimensional (3D) synthetic printing for the manufacture of non-biodegradable models, tools and implants used in surgery: a review of current methods

Benjamin Kirby, Jeffrey M. Kenkel, Andrew Y. Zhang, Bardia Amirlak, Thomas M. Suszynski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The advent of three-dimensional (3D) printing in the 1980s ushered in a new era of manufacturing. Original 3D printers were large, expensive and difficult to operate, but recent advances in 3D printer technologies have drastically increased the accessibility of these machines such that individual surgical departments can now afford their own 3D printers. As adoption of 3D printing technology has increased within the medical industry so too has the number of 3D printable materials. Selection of the appropriate printer and material for a given application can be a daunting task for any clinician. This review seeks to describe the benefits and drawbacks of different 3D printing technologies and the materials used therein. Commercially available printers using fused deposition modelling or fused filament fabrication technology and relatively inexpensive thermoplastic materials have enabled rapid manufacture of anatomic models and intraoperative tools as well as implant prototyping. Titanium alloys remain the gold-standard material for various implants used in the fixation of craniofacial or extremity fractures, but polymers and ceramics are showing increasing promise for these types of applications. An understanding of these materials and their compatibility with various 3D printers is essential for application of this technology in a healthcare setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-21
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medical Engineering and Technology
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • 3D printing
  • additive manufacturing
  • subtractive manufacturing
  • three-dimensional printing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering

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