Three-dimensional printing and pediatric liver disease

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Enthusiastic physicians and medical researchers are investigating the role of three-dimensional printing in medicine. The purpose of the current review is to provide a concise summary of the role of three-dimensional printing technology as it relates to the field of pediatric hepatology and liver transplantation.

Recent findings

Our group and others have recently demonstrated the feasibility of printing three-dimensional livers with identical anatomical and geometrical landmarks to the native liver to facilitate presurgical planning of complex liver surgeries. Medical educators are exploring the use of three-dimensional printed organs in anatomy classes and surgical residencies. Moreover, mini-livers are being developed by regenerative medicine scientist as a way to test new drugs and, eventually, whole livers will be grown in the laboratory to replace organs with end-stage disease solving the organ shortage problem.

Summary

From presurgical planning to medical education to ultimately the bioprinting of whole organs for transplantation, three-dimensional printing will change medicine as we know in the next few years.

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