3D printing technology and its role in urological training



Surgical simulation and 3D printing have both been gaining traction exclusively over the past decade, and now have started to appear simultaneously in current research. The opinion that surgical simulation should be part of surgery curricula is becoming ever more apparent. In this review, we highlight and briefly examine the 3D printing workflow, and each facet of the current body of literature using this technology in the augmentation of surgical training, in addition to the challenges currently faced.


A broad literature search was conducted pertaining to the utilisation of 3D printing in urology, aiming to sample the majority of use-cases of this fairly novel technology. The 3D printing workflow, current use-cases of 3D printing as applied to urological training, and challenges faced have been described.


A respectable number of surgical use-cases utilising 3D printing technology in their development were identified, including but not limited to percutaneous nephrolithotomy, partial nephrectomy, renal transplantation, laparoscopic pyeloplasty, prostate brachytherapy, transurethral resection of bladder tumours, urethrovesical anastomosis simulation devices, in addition to laparoscopic trainers and robotic surgery phantoms.


Over the last decade, urology has taken this cutting-edge technology in its stride; flaunting its efficacy in the augmentation of a number of procedural training applications. The number of use cases for this technology is only expected to rise as its virtues are demonstrated, the ease of use and availability of 3D printing units advances, and costs abated.

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BS: manuscript writing. PD: manuscript editing.

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Correspondence to Prokar Dasgupta.

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Smith, B., Dasgupta, P. 3D printing technology and its role in urological training. World J Urol 38, 2385–2391 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00345-019-02995-1

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  • Simulation
  • 3D printing
  • Innovation
  • Training