RATIONALE: Many medical practitioners do not have confidence and are uncomfortable with nasolaryngoscopy due, in part, to the absence of a practice model. We anticipated that we could use 3-Dimensional (3D) printing to make a high-resolution model for practicing nasolaryngoscopy.
METHODS: A model was developed using Mimics software based off high-resolution (<1mm cuts) normal adult sinus computer tomography. Segmentation was done manually. A mold was printed in polylactic acid using a commercial 3D printer. The model was then cast using medical grade silicone.
RESULTS: An anatomically correct 3D printed model of the normal adult nasal cavity and upper airway was designed for use in real-time. The model has all appropriate anatomic structures present at submillimeter resolution. Clearly visible anatomic structures include the osteomeatal complex, turbinates, vomer, adenoids, hard and soft palate juncture, tongue base, epiglottis, true and false cords. It has been tested by several users, including otolaryngologists, allergy-immunology fellows, otolaryngology residents, and medical students. There were only trivial suggestions for improvement. Design and development were done in collaboration with allergy-immunology and otolaryngology specialists across several meetings.
CONCLUSIONS: A 3D nasolaryngoscopy model was successfully developed and has the potential to serve as a useful training tool for clinicians seeking to practice nasolaryngoscopy. The model is being extended to encompass several pathologic conditions. Validation of this model is forthcoming.