The utility of three-dimensional modeling and printing in pediatric surgical patient and family education: a systematic review

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Yang, Angela
Panchendrabose, Kapilan
Leong, Cameron
Raza, Syed S.
Joharifard, Shahrzad
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Abstract Background Three-dimensional (3D) modeling and printing are increasingly being used in surgical settings. This technology has several applications including pre-operative surgical planning, inter-team communication, and patient education and counseling. The majority of research on 3D technology has focused on adult populations, where it has been found to be a useful tool for educating patients across various surgical specialties. There is a dearth, however, of research on the utility of 3D modeling and printing for patient and family education in pediatric populations. Our objective was to systematically review the current literature on how this modality is being utilized in pediatric surgical settings for patient and family education and counselling. Methods We conducted a systematic review in accordance with PRISMA and CASP guidelines. The MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, and Web of Science databases were searched from inception to October 21, 2023, with no restrictions on language or geographical location. Citation chaining was used to ensure relevant papers were included. Articles were doubly screened and data was extracted independently by two authors. In the case of disagreement, a third author was consulted. Any articles pertaining to 3D modeling and printing in pediatric surgical settings for patient and family education and counseling were included. Results Six articles met inclusion criteria and were used for qualitative analysis. Two involved questionnaires given to parents of children to assess their understanding of relevant anatomy, surgical procedure, and risks after viewing conventional CT images and again after viewing a 3D-printed model. One involved a quasi-experimental study to assess young patients’ pre-operative surgical understanding and anxiety after undergoing conventional teaching as compared to after viewing a 3D storybook. One involved questionnaires given to parents of children in control and study groups to assess the usefulness of 3D printed models compared to conventional CT images in their understanding of relevant anatomy and the surgical procedure. Another study looked at the usefulness of 3D printed models compared to 2D and 3D CT images in providing caregiver understanding during the pre-operative consent process. The last article involved studying the impact of using 3D printing to help patients understand their disease and participate in decision-making processes during surgical consultations. In all six studies, utilizing 3D technology improved transfer of information between surgical team members and their patients and families. Conclusion Our systematic review suggests that 3D modeling and printing is a useful tool for patient and family education and counselling in pediatric surgical populations. Given the very small number of published studies, further research is needed to better define the utility of this technology in pediatric settings.
3D Printing in Medicine. 2024 Jan 03;10(1):1