Integration of 3D printing and additive manufacturing in the interventional pulmonologist's toolbox

Respir Med. 2018 Jan:134:139-142. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2017.11.019. Epub 2017 Dec 2.


New 3D technologies are rapidly entering into the surgical landscape, including in interventional pulmonology. The transition of 2D restricted data into a physical model of pathological airways by three-dimensional printing (3DP) allows rapid prototyping and fabrication of complex and patient-specific shapes and can thus help the physician to plan and guide complex procedures. Furthermore, computer-assisted designed (CAD) patient-specific devices have already helped surgeons overcome several therapeutic impasses and are likely to rapidly cover a wider range of situations. We report herein with a special focus on our clinical experience: i) how additive manufacturing is progressively integrated into the management of complex central airways diseases; ii) the appealing future directions of these new technologies, including the potential of the emerging technique of bioprinting; iii) the main pitfalls that could delay its introduction into routine care.

Keywords: 3D printing; Additive manufacturing; Central airway obstruction; Computer-assisted design; Interventional bronchoscopy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bioprinting / methods
  • Computer-Aided Design
  • Humans
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Patient-Specific Modeling*
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / therapy*
  • Stents