Optimization of 3D Print Material for the Recreation of Patient-Specific Temporal Bone Models

Max Haffner, Austin Quinn, Tsung Yen Hsieh, E. Bradley Strong, Toby Steele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objective: Identify the 3D printed material that most accurately recreates the visual, tactile, and kinesthetic properties of human temporal bone Subjects and Methods: Fifteen study participants with an average of 3.6 years of postgraduate training and 56.5 temporal bone (TB) procedures participated. Each participant performed a mastoidectomy on human cadaveric TB and five 3D printed TBs of different materials. After drilling each unique material, participants completed surveys to assess each model’s appearance and physical likeness on a Likert scale from 0 to 10 (0 = poorly representative, 10 = completely life-like). The 3D models were acquired by computed tomography (CT) imaging and segmented using 3D Slicer software. Results: Polyethylene terephthalate (PETG) had the highest average survey response for haptic feedback (HF) and appearance, scoring 8.3 (SD = 1.7) and 7.6 (SD = 1.5), respectively. The remaining plastics scored as follows for HF and appearance: polylactic acid (PLA) averaged 7.4 and 7.6, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) 7.1 and 7.2, polycarbonate (PC) 7.4 and 3.9, and nylon 5.6 and 6.7. Conclusion: A PETG 3D printed temporal bone models performed the best for realistic appearance and HF as compared with PLA, ABS, PC, and nylon. The PLA and ABS were reliable alternatives that also performed well with both measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-343
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • 3-dimensional printing
  • additive manufacturing
  • computer-aided design
  • fused deposition modeling
  • model
  • otolaryngology
  • rapid prototyping
  • surgery
  • temporal bone
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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