Additive Manufacturing of Resected Oral and Oropharyngeal Tissue: A Pilot Study

Alexandria L Irace, Anne Koivuholma, Eero Huotilainen, Jaana Hagström, Katri Aro, Mika Salmi, Antti Markkola, Heli Sistonen, Timo Atula, Antti Mäkitie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Better visualization of tumor structure and orientation are needed in the postoperative setting. We aimed to assess the feasibility of a system in which oral and oropharyngeal tumors are resected, photographed, 3D modeled, and printed using additive manufacturing techniques. Three patients diagnosed with oral/oropharyngeal cancer were included. All patients underwent preoperative magnetic resonance imaging followed by resection. In the operating room (OR), the resected tissue block was photographed using a smartphone. Digital photos were imported into Agisoft Photoscan to produce a digital 3D model of the resected tissue. Physical models were then printed using binder jetting techniques. The aforementioned process was applied in pilot cases including carcinomas of the tongue and larynx. The number of photographs taken for each case ranged from 63 to 195. The printing time for the physical models ranged from 2 to 9 h, costs ranging from 25 to 141 EUR (28 to 161 USD). Digital photography may be used to additively manufacture models of resected oral/oropharyngeal tumors in an easy, accessible and efficient fashion. The model may be used in interdisciplinary discussion regarding postoperative care to improve understanding and collaboration, but further investigation in prospective studies is required.
Original languageEnglish
Article number911
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • additive manufacturing
  • rapid manufacturing
  • stereolithography
  • 3D imaging
  • head and neck surgery
  • surgical oncology


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