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Commentary: Ahead of the Curve |

Three-dimensional Printing and 3D Slicer: Powerful Tools in Understanding and Treating Structural Lung Disease

George Z. Cheng, MD, PhD; Raul San Jose Estepar, PhD; Erik Folch, MD; Jorge Onieva, MSc; Sidhu Gangadharan, MD; Adnan Majid, MD
Author and Funding Information

FUNDING/SUPPORT: This study was supported by Center for Integration of Medicine & Innovative Technology funding for three-dimensional modeling and Chest Imaging Platform development and National Institutes of Health [Grant 1R01HL116931] for slicer work.

CORRESPONDENCE TO: George Z. Cheng, MD, PhD, Division of Thoracic Surgery and Interventional Pulmonology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, 185 Pilgrim Rd, Deaconess 201, Boston, MA 02215


Copyright 2016, American College of Chest Physicians. All Rights Reserved.


Chest. 2016;149(5):1136-1142. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2016.03.001
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Recent advances in the three-dimensional (3D) printing industry have enabled clinicians to explore the use of 3D printing in preprocedural planning, biomedical tissue modeling, and direct implantable device manufacturing. Despite the increased adoption of rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing techniques in the health-care field, many physicians lack the technical skill set to use this exciting and useful technology. Additionally, the growth in the 3D printing sector brings an ever-increasing number of 3D printers and printable materials. Therefore, it is important for clinicians to keep abreast of this rapidly developing field in order to benefit. In this Ahead of the Curve, we review the history of 3D printing from its inception to the most recent biomedical applications. Additionally, we will address some of the major barriers to wider adoption of the technology in the medical field. Finally, we will provide an initial guide to 3D modeling and printing by demonstrating how to design a personalized airway prosthesis via 3D Slicer. We hope this information will reduce the barriers to use and increase clinician participation in the 3D printing health-care sector.

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