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10.11.2017 | Original Article | Ausgabe 2/2018

World Journal of Urology 2/2018

Development and validation of 3D printed virtual models for robot-assisted radical prostatectomy and partial nephrectomy: urologists’ and patients’ perception

World Journal of Urology > Ausgabe 2/2018
Francesco Porpiglia, Riccardo Bertolo, Enrico Checcucci, Daniele Amparore, Riccardo Autorino, Prokar Dasgupta, Peter Wiklund, Ashutosh Tewari, Evangelos Liatsikos, Cristian Fiori, The ESUT Research Group
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00345-017-2126-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



To test the face and content validity of 3D virtual-rendered printed models used before robot-assisted prostate cancer and nephron-sparing surgery.


Patients who underwent live surgery during an international urological meeting organized in January 2017 were enrolled. Those with organ-confined prostate cancer underwent robot-assisted radical prostatectomy. Patients with a single renal tumor underwent minimally invasive nephron-sparing surgery. High-resolution (HR) imaging was obtained for all patients. Those with kidney tumors received contrast-enhanced CT scan with angiography; those with prostate cancer underwent mp-MRI. Images in DICOM format were processed by dedicated software. The first step was the rendering of a 3D virtual model. The models were then printed. They were presented during the live surgery of the urological meeting. All the participants and the operated patients were asked to fill a questionnaire about their opinion expressed in Likert scale (1–10) about the use and application of the 3D printed models.


18 patients were enrolled, including 8 undergoing robot-assisted radical prostatectomy and 10 undergoing minimally invasive partial nephrectomy. For each patient, a virtual 3D printed model was created. The attendants rated the utility of printed models in surgical planning, anatomical representation and the role of technology in surgical training as 8/10, 10/10 and 9/10, respectively. All patients reported favorable feedbacks (from 9 to 10/10) about the use of the technology during the case discussion with the surgeon.


In our experience, 3D printing technology has been perceived as a useful tool for the purpose of surgical planning, physician education/training and patient counseling. Further researches are expected to increase the level of evidence.

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