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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2015 Aug;139(8):1048-51. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2014-0408-OA.

Introducing 3-Dimensional Printing of a Human Anatomic Pathology Specimen: Potential Benefits for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Education and Anatomic Pathology Practice.

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From the Pathology Department, School of Medicine, University College Cork (Dr Mahmoud), and the Pathology Department, National Cancer Screening Service, Cork University Hospital (Dr Bennett), Cork, Ireland.



Three-dimensional (3D) printing, a rapidly advancing technology, is widely applied in fields such as mechanical engineering and architecture. Three-dimensional printing has been introduced recently into medical practice in areas such as reconstructive surgery, as well as in clinical research. Three-dimensionally printed models of anatomic and autopsy pathology specimens can be used for demonstrating pathology entities to undergraduate medical, dental, and biomedical students, as well as for postgraduate training in examination of gross specimens for anatomic pathology residents and pathology assistants, aiding clinicopathological correlation at multidisciplinary team meetings, and guiding reconstructive surgical procedures.


To apply 3D printing in anatomic pathology for teaching, training, and clinical correlation purposes.


Multicolored 3D printing of human anatomic pathology specimens was achieved using a ZCorp 510 3D printer (3D Systems, Rock Hill, South Carolina) following creation of a 3D model using Autodesk 123D Catch software (Autodesk, Inc, San Francisco, California).


Three-dimensionally printed models of anatomic pathology specimens created included pancreatoduodenectomy (Whipple operation) and radical nephrectomy specimens. The models accurately depicted the topographic anatomy of selected specimens and illustrated the anatomic relation of excised lesions to adjacent normal tissues.


Three-dimensional printing of human anatomic pathology specimens is achievable. Advances in 3D printing technology may further improve the quality of 3D printable anatomic pathology specimens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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