Effectiveness of personalized 3D printed models for patient education in degenerative lumbar disease

Patient Educ Couns. 2019 Oct;102(10):1875-1881. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2019.05.006. Epub 2019 May 8.


Objective: Three-dimensional printing may play an important role in patients' education. The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of personalized 3D printed models for increasing patient understanding of their medical condition and surgical plan.

Methods: Forty-five patients with degenerative lumbar diseases were randomized by block design into three groups: educational program presented by CT & MRI imaging (care-as-usual), 3D reconstructions, or personalized 3D printed models. Patients' level of understanding and satisfaction were evaluated by two questionnaires one day after education.

Results: Patients educated with personalized 3D printed models demonstrated an expanded level of understanding than patients educated with CT & MRI imaging (care-as-usual) (P < 0.05) and 3D reconstructions (P < 0.05). Personalized 3D printed models also resulted in a higher degree of patient satisfaction (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Personalized 3D printed models and 3D reconstructions can simplify and enhance understanding of lumbar anatomy, physiology, and patients' disease and surgical plan. Personalized 3D printed models also enhance patients' subjective satisfaction.

Practice implications: Personalized 3D printed models for patient education are feasible and could be generalized for degenerative lumbar diseases.

Keywords: 3D reconstruction; Lumbar degeneration diseases; Patient education; Personalized 3D printing.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Degeneration / surgery*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / anatomy & histology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Anatomic*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed