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3D printing is a growing tool in surgical education with the ability to visualize and teach complex procedures from multiple angles. Previous studies demonstrated 3D models as useful teaching tools for partial nephrectomy for patient and trainee education. We aim to create a cheaper and simpler 3D model to encourage these learning opportunities.


Patient-specific, cost-effective ($35) 3D models of the affected urologic structures were created using preoperative imaging of 17 patients undergoing partial nephrectomies at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital between July and December 2020.

Patients receiving the surgery filled out two surveys about their understanding of their surgical procedure, pathophysiology, and risks before and after seeing the model.

Three urological residents and one fellow filled out separate surveys to assess their surgical plan and confidence in the chosen surgical plan before and after seeing the model.

Results and Conclusions:

12 of the 17 patients filled out the surveys. Patient understanding of their kidney, disease, surgery, and risk all significantly improved after seeing the 3D model (P <.001).

Urology residents and fellows filled out both surveys for 12 and 13 cases, respectively. Both residents (p<0.001) and fellows (p=0.011) reported increased self-confidence following seeing the model. Survey responses were limited due to COVID-19 restrictions.

3D models could be part of the standard of care as a learning tools to increase patient and resident understanding in partial nephrectomies. Further research should continue to explore the utility of 3D models as a pre-operative educational tool for both patients and trainees in other surgical fields.