World Journal of Urology

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 557–563 | Cite as

Three dimensional models in uro-oncology: a future built with additive fabrication

  • Todd G. Manning
  • Jonathan S. O’Brien
  • Daniel Christidis
  • Marlon Perera
  • Jasamine Coles-Black
  • Jason Chuen
  • Damien M. Bolton
  • Nathan Lawrentschuk
Topic Paper



Three-dimensional (3D) printing was invented in 1983 but has only just begun to influence medicine and surgery. Conversion of digital images into physical models demonstrates promise to revolutionize multiple domains of surgery. In the field of uro-oncology, researchers and clinicians have recognized the potential of this technology and are working towards making it an integral part of urological practice. We review current literature regarding 3D printing and other 3D technology in the field of urology.


A comprehensive assessment of contemporary literature was performed according to a modified PRISMA analysis for the purposes of this narrative review article. Medical databases that were searched included: Web of Science, EMBASE and Cochrane databases. Articles assessed were limited only to English-language peer-reviewed articles published between 1980 and 2017. The search terms used were “3D”, “3-dimensional”, “printing”, “printing technology”, “urology”, “surgery”. Acceptable articles were reviewed and incorporated for their merit and relevance with preference given for articles with high impact, original research and recent advances.


Thirty-five publications were included in final analysis and discussion.


The area of 3D printing in Urology shows promising results, but further research is required and cost reduction must occur before clinicians fully embrace its use. As costs continue to decline and diversity of materials continues to expand, research and clinical utilization will increase. Recent advances have demonstrated the potential of this technology in the realms of education and surgical optimization. The generation of personalized organs using 3D printing scaffolding remains the ‘holy grail’ of this technology.


3D 3-Dimensional 3D printing 3D reconstruction Surgery Robotic surgery Urology 


Authors contributions

All Authors contributed to the production of this manuscript. TGM: Protocol/project development, Data collection or management, Data analysis, Manuscript writing/editing, Revision writing/editing. JSO: Protocol/project development, Data collection or management, Data analysis, Manuscript writing/editing, Revision writing/editing. DC: Protocol/project development, Data collection or management, Data analysis, Manuscript writing/editing. MP: Data Analysis, Manuscript writing/editing, Revision writing/editing. JC-B: Protocol/project development, Data collection or management, Data analysis. JC: Protocol/project development, Data collection or management, Data analysis. DMB: Protocol/project development, Data collection or management, Data analysis. NL: Protocol/project development, Data collection or management, Data analysis

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Todd G. Manning
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jonathan S. O’Brien
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daniel Christidis
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marlon Perera
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jasamine Coles-Black
    • 1
    • 4
  • Jason Chuen
    • 1
    • 4
  • Damien M. Bolton
    • 1
  • Nathan Lawrentschuk
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Surgery, Austin HealthUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.The Young Urology Researchers Organisation (YURO)MelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.Austin Health 3D Medical Printing LaboratoryMelbourneAustralia
  5. 5.Department of Surgical OncologyPeter MacCallum Cancer CentreMelbourneAustralia
  6. 6.Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research InstituteMelbourneAustralia

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