A 3D Printed Temporal Bone Model for TEES Used in Our Hands-On Seminar

By June 7, 2019

Futai, Kazunori1,2; Kubota, Toshinori2; Furukawa, Takatoshi2; Matsui, Hirooki2; Goto, Takanari2; Watanabe, Chihiro2; Ito, Tsukasa2; Takagi, Akira3; Kakehata, Seiji2
1 Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Yamagata Prefectural Central Hospital, Yamagata, Japan;
2 Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Yamagata University Faculty of Medicine, Yamagata, Japan;
3 Department of Dental Oral Surgery, Yamagata University Faculty of Medicine, Yamagata, Japan.

The TEES Hands-on Seminar has been held annually since 2012 at the Yamagata University Faculty of Medicine. We have used 3D printed temporal bone models in the hands-on training portion of the seminar because cadavers were not a practical option. These models, which have been regularly improved upon, have prove to be an excellent teaching tool for TEES.

3D models of the temporal bone and inner structures of the ear were created using CT scan data, a series of 3D printers and different curing methods.

3D printing is still a developing technology which is marked by substantial changes and upgrades. As the technology has matured, the 3D model used in each Seminar has been significantly improved. The ossicular joint structure originally presented a real challenge and could not be reproduced in the 2013 model, but we successfully reproduced the joint in the 2014 model. The 2015 model saw the creation of a separate ossicular bone structure which more accurately reflects the actual structure using mold shaping technology. 2017 saw a switch from mold shaping to stereolithography which made the duplication process much faster. From 2019, we separately created the tensor tympani and when the malleus head is severed, the handle side remained on the tympanic side.

Our 3D printed temporal bone model for TEES offers many advantages over cadavers, specifically, it is cost effective, hygienic, reproducible and educational. Thus, 3D print models should be a standard part of the TEES teaching tool kit.