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The Current Role of Three-Dimensional Printing in Plastic Surgery

Kamali, Parisa, M.D.; Dean, David, Ph.D.; Skoracki, Roman, M.D.; Koolen, Pieter G. L., M.D.; Paul, Marek A., M.D.; Ibrahim, Ahmed M. S., M.D., Ph.D.; Lin, Samuel J., M.D., M.B.A.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: March 2016 - Volume 137 - Issue 3 - p 1045–1055
doi: 10.1097/01.prs.0000479977.37428.8e
Special Topics: Technology & Innovations
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Summary: Since the advent of three-dimensional printing in the 1980s, it has become possible to produce physical objects from digital files and create three-dimensional objects by adding one layer at a time following a predetermined pattern. Because of the continued development of inexpensive and easy-to-use three-dimensional printers and bioprinting, this technique has gained more momentum over time, especially in the field of medicine. This article reviews the current and possible future application of three-dimensional printing technology within the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Boston, Mass.; and Columbus, Ohio

From the Division of Plastic Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School; and the Department of Plastic Surgery, Wexner Medical Center, The Ohio State University.

Received for publication June 21, 2015; accepted November 5, 2015.

Disclosure:Dr. Dean has a research collaboration agreement with EnvisionTEC, Inc. (Dearborn, Mich.), a 3D printer manufacturer whose devices are used in this project. He is also the lead inventor of patents assigned to, has received compensation from, and has an ownership stake in Osteoplastics, LLC (Shaker Heights, Ohio). The technology covered by some of those assigned patents is used in this study. Some of the implant design and fabrication technology discussed in this review has been patented and assigned or licensed to Osteoplastics, LLC, and 3DServicePros, LLC (Pepper Pike, Ohio). Dr. Dean has an ownership stake in both Osteoplastics, LLC, and 3DServicePros, LLC. There was no internal or external financial support for this study. None of the other authors has a financial interest in any of the products or devices mentioned in this article.

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A “Hot Topic Video” by Editor-in-Chief Rod J. Rohrich, M.D., accompanies this article. Go to and click on “Plastic Surgery Hot Topics” in the “Videos” tab to watch.” On the iPad, tap on the Hot Topics icon.

Samuel J. Lin, M.D., M.B.A., 110 Francis Street, Suite 5A, Boston, Mass. 02215,

©2016American Society of Plastic Surgeons