Main Clinical Use of Additive Manufacturing (Three-Dimensional Printing) in Finland Restricted to the Head and Neck Area in 2016–2017

A. B.V. Pettersson*, M. Salmi, Pekka Vallittu, W. Serlo, J. Tuomi, A. A. Mäkitie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
117 Downloads (Pure)


Background and Aims: Additive manufacturing or three-dimensional printing is a novel production methodology for producing patient-specific models, medical aids, tools, and implants. However, the clinical impact of this technology is unknown. In this study, we sought to characterize the clinical adoption of medical additive manufacturing in Finland in 2016–2017. We focused on non-dental usage at university hospitals. Materials and Methods: A questionnaire containing five questions was sent by email to all operative, radiologic, and oncologic departments of all university hospitals in Finland. Respondents who reported extensive use of medical additive manufacturing were contacted with additional, personalized questions. Results: Of the 115 questionnaires sent, 58 received answers. Of the responders, 41% identified as non-users, including all general/gastrointestinal (GI) and vascular surgeons, urologists, and gynecologists; 23% identified as experimenters or previous users; and 36% identified as heavy users. Usage was concentrated around the head area by various specialties (neurosurgical, craniomaxillofacial, ear, nose and throat diseases (ENT), plastic surgery). Applications included repair of cranial vault defects and malformations, surgical oncology, trauma, and cleft palate reconstruction. Some routine usage was also reported in orthopedics. In addition to these patient-specific uses, we identified several off-the-shelf medical components that were produced by additive manufacturing, while some important patient-specific components were produced by traditional methodologies such as milling. Conclusion: During 2016–2017, medical additive manufacturing in Finland was routinely used at university hospitals for several applications in the head area. Outside of this area, usage was much less common. Future research should include all patient-specific products created by a computer-aided design/manufacture workflow from imaging data, instead of concentrating on the production methodology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-173
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Early online date25 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • 3d printing
  • Computer-aided design
  • computer-assisted surgery
  • medical model
  • three-dimensional printing


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