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Radiographics. 2015 Nov-Dec;35(7):1965-88. doi: 10.1148/rg.2015140320.

Medical 3D Printing for the Radiologist.

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From the Applied Imaging Science Laboratory, Department of Radiology (D.M., A.I., A.A.G., T.C., K.K.K., E.G., F.J.R.), and Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery (E.J.C., B.P.), Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Mass; 3D Medical Applications Center, Department of Radiology, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md (P.L., V.B.H., G.T.G.); Center for Advanced Imaging Innovation and Research, Bernard and Irene Schwartz Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY (N.W.); and Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY (N.W.).


While use of advanced visualization in radiology is instrumental in diagnosis and communication with referring clinicians, there is an unmet need to render Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) images as three-dimensional (3D) printed models capable of providing both tactile feedback and tangible depth information about anatomic and pathologic states. Three-dimensional printed models, already entrenched in the nonmedical sciences, are rapidly being embraced in medicine as well as in the lay community. Incorporating 3D printing from images generated and interpreted by radiologists presents particular challenges, including training, materials and equipment, and guidelines. The overall costs of a 3D printing laboratory must be balanced by the clinical benefits. It is expected that the number of 3D-printed models generated from DICOM images for planning interventions and fabricating implants will grow exponentially. Radiologists should at a minimum be familiar with 3D printing as it relates to their field, including types of 3D printing technologies and materials used to create 3D-printed anatomic models, published applications of models to date, and clinical benefits in radiology. Online supplemental material is available for this article.

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