Article Abstract

The addition of 3D printed models to enhance the teaching and learning of bone spatial anatomy and fractures for undergraduate students: a randomized controlled study

Authors: Ai-Min Wu, Kai Wang, Jian-Shun Wang, Chun-Hui Chen, Xin-Dong Yang, Wen-Fei Ni, Yue-Zheng Hu

Abstract

Background: Whether or not the addition of 3D (three-dimension) printed models can enhance the teaching and learning environment for undergraduate students in regard to bone spatial anatomy is still unknown. In this study, we investigated the use of 3D printed models versus radiographic images as a technique for the education of medical students about bone spatial anatomy and fractures.
Methods: The computed tomography (CT) data from four patients, each with a different fracture type (one spinal fracture, one pelvic fracture, one upper limb fracture, and one lower limb fracture), were obtained, and 3D models of the fractures were printed. A total of 90 medical students were enrolled in the study and randomly divided into two groups as follows: a traditional radiographic image group (presented by PowerPoint) and a 3D printed model group (combined PowerPoint and 3D models). Each student answered 5 questions about one type of fracture and completed a visual analog scale of satisfaction (0–10 points).
Results: No significant differences were found in the upper limb or lower limb test scores between the 3D printed model group and the traditional radiographic image group; however, the scores on the pelvis and spine test for the traditional radiographic image group were significantly lower than the scores for the 3D printed model group (P=0.000). No significant differences were found in the test-taking times for the upper limb or lower limb (P=0.603 and P=0.746, respectively) between the two groups; however, the test-taking times for the pelvis and spine in the traditional radiographic image group were significantly longer than those of the 3D printed model group (P=0.000 and P=0.002, respectively).
Conclusions: The 3D printed model may improve medical students’ understanding of bone spatial anatomy and fractures in some anatomically complex sites.