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Use of three-dimensional printing for simulation in ultrasound education: a scoping review

Abstract

Background There is a significant learning curve when teaching ultrasonography to medical trainees; task trainers can help learners to bridge this gap and develop their skills. Three-dimensional printing technology has the potential to be a great tool in the development of such simulators.

Objective This scoping review aimed to identify what 3D-printed models have been used in ultrasound education to date, how they were created and the pros and limitations involved.

Design Researchers searched three online databases to identify 3D-printed ultrasound models used in medical education.

Results Twelve suitable publications were identified for inclusion in this review. The models from included articles simulated largely low frequency and/or high stakes events, with many models simulating needle guidance procedures. Most models were created by using patient imaging data and a computer-aided design software to print structures directly or print casting molds. The benefits of 3D-printed educational trainers are their low cost, reproducibility, patient specificity and accuracy. The current limitations of this technology are upfront investments and a lack of optimisation of materials.

Conclusions The use of 3D-printed ultrasound task trainers is in its infancy, and more research is needed to determine whether or not this technology will benefit medical learners in the future.

  • Education
  • Ultrasound
  • Simulation Based Education
  • Task Trainers And Clinical Skills Centers

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