3D printed bone models in oral and cranio-maxillofacial surgery: a systematic review

3D Print Med. 2020 Oct 20;6(1):30. doi: 10.1186/s41205-020-00082-5.


Aim: This systematic review aimed to evaluate the use of three-dimensional (3D) printed bone models for training, simulating and/or planning interventions in oral and cranio-maxillofacial surgery.

Materials and methods: A systematic search was conducted using PubMed® and SCOPUS® databases, up to March 10, 2019, by following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) protocol. Study selection, quality assessment (modified Critical Appraisal Skills Program tool) and data extraction were performed by two independent reviewers. All original full papers written in English/French/Italian and dealing with the fabrication of 3D printed models of head bone structures, designed from 3D radiological data were included. Multiple parameters and data were investigated, such as author's purpose, data acquisition systems, printing technologies and materials, accuracy, haptic feedback, variations in treatment time, differences in clinical outcomes, costs, production time and cost-effectiveness.

Results: Among the 1157 retrieved abstracts, only 69 met the inclusion criteria. 3D printed bone models were mainly used as training or simulation models for tumor removal, or bone reconstruction. Material jetting printers showed best performance but the highest cost. Stereolithographic, laser sintering and binder jetting printers allowed to create accurate models with adequate haptic feedback. The cheap fused deposition modeling printers exhibited satisfactory results for creating training models.

Conclusion: Patient-specific 3D printed models are known to be useful surgical and educational tools. Faced with the large diversity of software, printing technologies and materials, the clinical team should invest in a 3D printer specifically adapted to the final application.

Keywords: 3D printing; Additive manufacturing, Bone model; Preoperative planning; Simulation; Surgical training.

Publication types

  • Review