Anatomical 3D-Printed Silicone Prostate Gland Models and Rectal Examination Task Trainer for the Training of Medical Residents and Undergraduate Medical Students

Cureus. 2020 Jul 6;12(7):e9020. doi: 10.7759/cureus.9020.


The current generation of graduating medical students is entering into practice with minimal exposure to the digital rectal examination (DRE), a necessary component of a complete physical examination. Simulation-based medical education (SBME) using anatomical silicone models and task trainers can provide hands-on training opportunities for medical students to rehearse DREs. However, there is a scarcity of affordable, validated, and anatomically correct silicone prostate models and task trainers for rehearsing DREs. This technical report describes and validates evidence for silicone prostate models and a DRE task trainer created from three-dimensional (3D)-printed molds for medical student- and resident-training and clinical skills maintenance. A pre-existing 3D human model and five different prostate models from open-source, royalty-free websites were converted using Fusion360™ (Autodesk Inc., San Rafael, CA) into stereolithography files and altered to produce negative molds. The prostate molds were filled with silicone and polylactic acid filament "nodules". The buttocks were isolated from the human model and an anal canal was designed with a larger cavity on the interior to hold the silicone prostate models to simulate a real DRE. Five practicing urologists were recruited to evaluate the 3D-printed silicone prostate models and the DRE task trainer. The participants were provided with a qualitative survey and asked to rate the perceived realism and educational effectiveness of the prostate models and task trainer. The silicone models and task trainer were found to be useful for simulation training when attempting DRE techniques. The feedback from the participants was positive overall and provided recommendations for improvement including stabilizing the prostate models in the task trainer, smoothening the transition between the rectum and the prostate, and adding an additional "normal" prostate model. Silicone prostate models and DRE task trainers created from 3D molds are economical and anatomically and tactically accurate training tools to teach and maintain DRE skills as compared to commercially available, cost-prohibitive models. After making the suggested and appropriate modifications, the prostate models and DRE task trainer could potentially be used as tools for clinical skills training and maintenance and for patient education in the future.

Keywords: digital rectal examination; prostate; simulation in medical education; task-trainer; three-dimensional (3d) printing; urology.