Abdominal Radiology

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 304–309 | Cite as

Impact of a 3D printed model on patients’ understanding of renal cryoablation: a prospective pilot study

  • Collin Schmit
  • Jane Matsumoto
  • Kathleen Yost
  • Amy Alexander
  • Lori Ness
  • A. Nicholas Kurup
  • Thomas Atwell
  • Bradley Leibovich
  • Grant SchmitEmail author



To determine whether a 3D printed model improves patients’ understanding of renal cryoablation and the involved anatomy.


This prospective study included 25 control patients, who received standard of care renal cryoablation education (verbal explanation accompanied by review of relevant 2D imaging) and 25 experimental patients, who received education using a 3D printed renal cryoablation model in addition to standard of care. Subsequent patient surveys included 5 anatomy and 5 procedural knowledge questions. The experimental cohort also subjectively graded the importance of the 3D model for understanding the renal cryoablation procedure and associated anatomy.


Mean percent of anatomy questions answered correctly was significantly higher in the experimental cohort than that in the control group (87.2% vs. 72.8%; p = 0.007). After adjusting for the physician providing the education, however, the 3D model was no longer significantly associated with patient anatomy knowledge (p = 0.22). Mean percent of procedure-related questions answered correctly was higher in the experimental cohort (93.6%) than that in the control group (89.6%) (p = 0.16). The experimental cohort graded the importance of the 3D model for understanding their renal tumor anatomy and upcoming procedure to be very high (mean 9.4 and 9.5, respectively, on a 0–10 point scale). Twenty-three (92%) patients “definitely recommended” continued use of the 3D model as a patient educational tool.


Although patients’ objective anatomy and procedural knowledge was not significantly improved with the 3D renal cryoablation model in this small pilot study, patients’ high perceived value of the model supports investigation in a larger study.


3D Printing Kidney Cryoablation Patient Education 


Compliance with ethical standards


None for any authors.

Ethical approval

IRB approval was obtained for the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Sciences ResearchMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  3. 3.Department of UrologyMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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