Advances in 3-Dimensional Printing in Otolaryngology: A Review

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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.


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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