Multi-material 3D models for temporal bone surgical simulation

Austin S. Rose, Julia S. Kimbell, Caroline E. Webster, Ola L.A. Harrysson, Eric J. Formeister, Craig A. Buchman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Hypothesis: A simulated, multicolor, multi-material temporal bone model can be created using 3-dimensional (3D) printing that will prove both safe and beneficial in training for actual temporal bone surgical cases. Background: As the process of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, has become more practical and affordable, a number of applications for the technology in the field of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery have been considered. One area of promise is temporal bone surgical simulation. Methods: Three-dimensional representations of human temporal bones were created from temporal bone computed tomography (CT) scans using biomedical image processing software. Multi-material models were then printed and dissected in a temporal bone laboratory by attending and resident otolaryngologists. A 5-point Likert scale was used to grade the models for their anatomical accuracy and suitability as a simulation of cadaveric and operative temporal bone drilling. Results: The models produced for this study demonstrate significant anatomic detail and a likeness to human cadaver specimens for drilling and dissection. Conclusion: Simulated temporal bones created by this process have potential benefit in surgical training, preoperative simulation for challenging otologic cases, and the standardized testing of temporal bone surgical skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-536
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • 3D printed
  • 3D printing
  • Ear
  • Safety
  • Simulation
  • Surgical education
  • Surgical simulation
  • Temporal bone
  • Temporal bone simulation
  • Training


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