Personalized 3D kidney model produced by rapid prototyping method and its usefulness in clinical applications
ABSTRACT Background: Three-dimensional (3D) printing has been introduced as a novel technique to produce 3D objects. We tried to evaluate the clinical usefulness of 3D-printed renal model in performing partial nephrectomy (PN) and also in the education of medical students. Materials and Methods: We prospectively produced personalized renal models using 3D-printing methods from preoperative computed tomography (CT) images in a total of 10 patients. Two different groups (urologist and student group) appraised the clinical usefulness of 3D-renal models by answering questionnaires. Results: After application of 3D renal models, the urologist group gave highly positive responses in asking clinical usefulness of 3D-model among PN (understanding personal anatomy: 8.9 / 10, preoperative surgical planning: 8.2 / 10, intraoperative tumor localization: 8.4 / 10, plan for further utilization in future: 8.3 / 10, clinical usefulness in complete endophytic mass: 9.5 / 10). The student group located each renal tumor correctly in 47.3% when they solely interpreted the CT images. After the introduction of 3D-models, the rate of correct answers was significantly elevated to 70.0% (p < 0.001). The subjective difficulty level in localizing renal tumor was also significantly low (52% versus 27%, p < 0.001) when they utilized 3D-models. Conclusion: The personalized 3D renal model was revealed to significantly enhance the understanding of correct renal anatomy in patients with renal tumors in both urologist and student groups. These models can be useful for establishing the perioperative planning and also education program for medical students.