Journal of Surgical Simulation 2017; 4: 23 - 28
Published: 20 July 2017
The importance of 3D printing in vascular surgical simulation and training
Surgical simulation is now commonplace across many disciplines. However, limitations of existing surgical simulation modalities prevent it from being widely incorporated into training schemes. Three-dimensional (3D) printing technology, a subset of rapid prototyping, has the potential to fill the gaps in vascular surgical simulation. This Editorial discusses the current gaps in vascular surgical simulation and delineates the importance of 3D printing, particularly its applications, in vascular surgical simulation and training. Besides being a useful adjunct to existing simulation modalities in surgical training, the 3D printing technique has great utility in patient-specific pre-procedure rehearsal, particularly for pre-operative planning, enhancing patient outcomes, customizing implants, reducing risks and complications, and increasing operative efficiency. With further advancements in production costs, speed and face validity of 3D-printed models, as well as more robust regulations, 3D printing technology has the potential to benefit patients, surgeons and educators tremendously. Future studies with higher levels of evidence coupled with standardized reporting guidelines, larger sample sizes, and more robust outcome measurements are warranted.
3D printing; surgical simulation; vascular surgery; surgical training; patient-specific