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J Contemp Brachytherapy. 2017 Jun;9(3):270-276. doi: 10.5114/jcb.2017.68134. Epub 2017 May 30.

Individualized 3D scanning and printing for non-melanoma skin cancer brachytherapy: a financial study for its integration into clinical workflow.

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Radiation Oncology Department, Hospital Universitari Sant Joan de Reus, Institut d'Investigacions Sanitàries Pere Virgili, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona.
Radiation Oncology Department, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Albacete.
Department of Computer Engineering and Mathematics, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona.
Department of Medical Physics, Hospital Universitari Sant Joan de Reus, Institut d'Investigacions Sanitàries Pere Virgili, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona.
Radiation Oncology Department, Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, Spain.



Skin cancer is the most common tumor in the population. There are different therapeutic modalities. Brachytherapy is one of the techniques used, in which it is necessary to build customized moulds for some patients. Currently, these moulds are made by hand using rudimentary techniques. We present a new procedure based on 3D printing and the analysis of the clinical workflow.


Moulds can be made either by hand or by automated 3D printing. For making moulds by hand, a patient's alginate negative is created and, from that, the gypsum cast and customized moulds are made by hand from the patient's negative template. The new process is based on 3D printing. The first step is to take a 3D scan of the surface of the patient and then, 3D modelling software is used to obtain an accurate anatomical reconstruction of the treatment area. We present the clinical workflow using 3D scanning and printing technology, comparing its costs with the usual custom handmade mould protocol.


The time spent for the new process is 6.25 hours, in contrast to the time spent for the conventional process, which is 9.5 hours. We found a 34% reduction in time required to create a mould for brachytherapy treatment. The labor cost of the conventional process is 211.5 vs. 152.5 hours, so the reduction is 59 hours. There is also a 49.5% reduction in the financial costs, mostly due to lack of need of a computed tomography (CT) scan of the gypsum and the mould. 3D scanning and printing offers financial benefits and reduces the clinical workload.


As the present project demonstrates, through the application of 3D printing technologies, the costs and time spent during the process in the clinical workload in brachytherapy treatment are reduced. Overall, 3D printing is a promising technique for brachytherapy that might be well received in the community.


3D printing; brachytherapy; moulds; skin cancer

Conflict of interest statement

The study was supported by research grant from “Associació Oncològica Dr Amadeu Pelegrí”.

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