Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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3D models lead a revolution

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-18, 15:44 authored by Carol RizkallaCarol Rizkalla

Three-dimensional (3D) printing is revolutionising healthcare as we know it. The technology involves taking a digital model of a subject and printing it in consecutive layers to create a fully formed object in the form of a 3D model. Diseased organs can be modelled and reproduced, allowing surgeons to handle and examine them before, during, or after an operation. The ability to prepare for surgery with this direct, hands-on approach has improved outcomes around cost, speed, and precision. In addition, the ability to view pathological diseases tangibly is invaluable for patients’ understanding of diseases, thereby improving the overall patient-doctor relationship. Likewise, medical students can further their understanding of complex human anatomy and deepen their knowledge of pathology. The technology is also a large contributor to precision medicine, through its ability to create prosthetic designs suitable for patients’ unique aesthetic and functional needs. Furthermore, the ‘polypill’, a product of 3D printing, can package multiple complex medications into a single tablet – a promising tool for addressing the challenges of polypharmacy. Despite the notable applications developed thus far, 3D printing has not yet reached the limit of its vast capabilities. With the increased implementation of the technology within the healthcare sector, additional efforts and research towards enhancements will allow us to realise the full potential of 3D models. 



The original article is available at Part of the RCSIsmj collection:

Published Citation

Rizkalla C. 3D models lead a revolution. RCSIsmj. 2020;13(1):69-74

Publication Date



  • Undergraduate Research


RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences


  • Published Version (Version of Record)