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February 2017

Advances in 3-Dimensional Printing in Otolaryngology: A Review

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 2Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017;143(2):178-183. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2016.3002

Importance  Three-dimensional (3-D) printing is an exponentially growing technology that enables the use of a patient’s image data to create patient-specific models, devices, and implants. Three-dimensional printing, developed in the 1980s, has emerged in the past decade with the potential to create new paradigms in personalized medicine.

Observations  The field of otolaryngology has advanced many current and evolving future medical applications of 3-D printing. The predominant uses of 3-D printing have rapidly progressed from patient-specific models and simulators to intraoperative guides. Continued advancements now include 3-D–printed implants and future tissue-engineered constructs, which bring new regulatory challenges. This review summarizes the literature and provides a comprehensive guide to the background, applications, and current limitations of 3-D printing across the head and neck.

Conclusions and Relevance  Three-dimensional printing enables the rapid production of patient-specific devices for personalized medicine. The field of otolaryngology has pioneered many of the underlying advancements in medical 3-D printing and will continue to remain at the forefront of 3-D printing technology.

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