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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2020 Jan;128:109730. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2019.109730. Epub 2019 Oct 15.

3D printed myringotomy and tube simulation as an introduction to otolaryngology for medical students.

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University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT, USA.
Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Hartford, CT, USA.
Stanford University Department of Otolaryngology, Palo Alto, CA, USA.
Stanford University Department of Otolaryngology, Palo Alto, CA, USA. Electronic address:



Surgical simulation models have been shown to improve surgical skill and confidence for surgical residents before real life procedures. Surgical simulators can be similarly applied in undergraduate medical education as a tool to introduce students to the field of otolaryngology.


Ear models were created using 3D printing and high-performance silicone. Twenty medical students participated in a slide presentation and a myringotomy tube simulation station, each completing a pre- and post-survey using a 5-point Likert scale.


A previously validated 3D myringotomy simulator was used. Twenty medical student volunteers participated in the simulation including 14 first-year and 6 s-year medical students. None of the participating students reported observing myringotomy and placement of tympanostomy tubes before the session. Medical student participants rated their knowledge of the steps of the procedure and where to insert the tympanostomy tube at 2 (2 = disagree) or below with a mean of 1.35 SD = 0.47 and 1.2 SD = 0.41 respectively. At the completion of the educational session, the medical students rated their knowledge of the steps of the procedure as significantly improved at 4.45 SD = 0.6 (p = 0.00001).


We found that medical students with no prior exposure to ear anatomy or surgical training were able to use the simulator as an introduction to the specialty. There was a perceived improvement in their medical knowledge and basics of a procedural skill.


Medical schools can provide an inexpensive, safe, procedural practice tool using 3D printing as an introduction for students interested in surgical procedures.


3D printing; Myringotomy; Surgical simulation; Undergraduate medical education

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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