A review of 3D printing utilisation in radiotherapy in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland

Gordon Sands, Catharine H. Clark, Conor K. McGarry*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

The use of three-dimensional (3D) printing in medical applications is quickly becoming mainstream. There have been an increasing number of publications discussing its implementation in radiotherapy, and the technology has become more affordable.

The objective of this study was to establish how widely 3D printing is currently being utilised and what has been done to validate the processes and outcomes. A survey was sent to the UK and Ireland medical physics mailing lists. The questions were designed to establish how many centres were using 3D printers, how 3D printers were being utilized, the type of printing technologies being used, and how risk was being addressed.

A total of 60 radiotherapy centres responded to the survey, with 38 % of the respondents currently using 3D printing. The majority (85 %) of the remaining respondents said they may or would have a 3D printer in the next 3 years. The majority of users were using FDM-type printers. The main variability among 3D printer users was how risk management and QA were addressed.

This survey has demonstrated that there is an increased appetite for 3D printers in radiotherapy even beyond phantoms and bolus. Yet, despite this, guidance on implementation, compliance with the medical device directive and risk management remains sparse. As a consequence, centres have adopted a variety of approaches to risk management and QA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103143
Number of pages7
JournalPhysica Medica
Volume115
Early online date29 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

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