The Advantages of 3D Printed Anatomical Models

Date Posted:2 May 2016 

The growing sophistication and accessibility of 3D printing as a manufacturing process has offered an enormous number of advantages to the healthcare industry.

While custom prosthetics are the most visible and widely-reported change 3D printing has brought to the industry, one of the more exciting for medical educators is the creation of more accurate anatomic models.

These models side-step a lot of the issues involved in providing students with hands-on anatomical experience, and in some cases even improve on existing options.

Fewer barriers to learning

Acquiring cadavers – either whole body or partial – poses a number of difficulties for learning institutions that 3D printed anatomical models avoid. While Australia’s robust donation programmes ensure an adequate supply of bodies, acquiring specific parts such as bones for the teaching of osteology are comparatively difficult.[1] 3D printing’s speed and precision can ensure a large number of accurate models that students can handle will always be available.

Furthermore, the process of acquiring a body can be extremely expensive. Preparing a body for dissection and storing it can cost a university up to $12,000 in Australia.[2] With 3D printing, institutions can manage their costs by only choosing the portions of the body they require with no wastage.

Cultural and legal restrictions also affect the transportation and use of cadavers for medical purposes. When universities require more bodies than are currently available they have to import from the United States – a costly and lengthy procedure. This is due to the body supply chain being suspect in many other parts of the world.[3]

Additionally, some students may feel uncomfortable using cadavers due to cultural, spiritual or religious restrictions on interacting with the dead. 3D printed anatomical models avoid the legal and ethical issues associated with the use of a body after death.

The flexibility of 3D printing

Consider 3D printed anatomical models for your institution. In addition to avoiding many of the complexities of embalmed or plastinated cadavers, they also provide unparalleled versatility and scalability. Students will be able to clearly see parts of the body they otherwise couldn’t, such as brain vasculature or the bronchial tree.

Enquire with Mentone Educational today to find out how we can help your students gain a better understanding of human anatomy.


[1] AbouHashem, Y., Dayal, M., Savanah, S., & Štrkalj, G. (2015). The application of 3D printing in anatomy education. Medical Education Online, 20.

[2] Aubusson, K. (2014). The life of a med school cadaver. Australian Doctor. Retrieved 21 April 2016, from

[3] Ibid.

Comments (1)

I waetnd to spend a

23 May 2016
I waetnd to spend a minute to thank you for this.

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