Comparing the use of conventional and three-dimensional printing (3DP) in mandibular reconstruction

Biomed Eng Online. 2022 Mar 19;21(1):18. doi: 10.1186/s12938-022-00989-6.


Background: There are a number of clinical disorders that require mandibular reconstruction (MR). Novel three-dimensional (3D) printing technology enables reconstructions to be more accurate and beneficial to the patient. However, there is currently no evidence identifying which techniques are better suited for MR, based on the type of clinical disorder the patient has. In this study, we aim to compare 3D techniques with conventional techniques to identify how best to reconstruct the mandible based on the clinical cause that necessitates the reconstructive procedure: cancerous or benign tumours, clinical disorders, infection or disease and trauma or injury.

Methods: PubMed, Scopus, Embase and Medline were searched to identify relevant papers that outline the clinical differences between 3D and conventional techniques in MR. Data were evaluated to provide a clear outline of suitable techniques for surgery.

Results: 20 of 2749 papers met inclusion criteria. These papers were grouped based on the clinical causes that required MR into four categories: malignant or benign tumour resection; mandibular trauma/injury and other clinical disorders.

Conclusions: The majority of researchers favoured 3D techniques in MR. However, due to a lack of standardised reporting in these studies it was not possible to determine which specific techniques were better for which clinical presentations.

Keywords: 3D-printing; Conventional surgery; Mandible; Mandibular reconstruction; Reconstructive surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mandible / surgery
  • Mandibular Reconstruction*
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional