Understanding the three-dimensional (3D) nature of the human form is imperative for effective medical practice and the emergence of 3D printing creates numerous opportunities to enhance aspects of medical and healthcare training. A recently deceased, un-embalmed donor was scanned through high-resolution computed tomography. The scan data underwent segmentation and post-processing and a range of 3D-printed anatomical models were produced. A four-stage mixed-methods study was conducted to evaluate the educational value of the models in a medical program. (1) A quantitative pre/post-test to assess change in learner knowledge following 3D-printed model usage in a small group tutorial; (2) student focus group (3) a qualitative student questionnaire regarding personal student model usage (4) teaching faculty evaluation. The use of 3D-printed models in small-group anatomy teaching session resulted in a significant increase in knowledge (P = 0.0001) when compared to didactic 2D-image based teaching methods. Student focus groups yielded six key themes regarding the use of 3D-printed anatomical models: model properties, teaching integration, resource integration, assessment, clinical imaging, and pathology and anatomical variation. Questionnaires detailed how students used the models in the home environment and integrated them with anatomical learning resources such as textbooks and anatomy lectures. In conclusion, 3D-printed anatomical models can be successfully produced from the CT data set of a recently deceased donor. These models can be used in anatomy education as a teaching tool in their own right, as well as a method for augmenting the curriculum and complementing established learning modalities, such as dissection-based teaching. Anat Sci Educ. © 2017 American Association of Anatomists.
Smith, C., Tollemache, N., Covill, D., & Johnston, M. (2017). Take away body parts! an investigation into the use of 3D-printed anatomical models in undergraduate anatomy education. Anatomical Sciences Education, 11(1), 44-53. https://doi.org/10.1002/ase.1718