Radiology's Emerging Role in 3-D Printing Applications in Health Care

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From its inception as a tool for prototype development in the early 1980s, three-dimensional (3-D) printing has made inroads into almost every sector of industry, including health care. Medical applications range from extra- and intracorporeal orthopedic devices to complex, temporal reconstructions of patient-specific anatomy that allow operative planning and education. In the contemporary climate of personalized medicine, the utility of tangible 3-D models extrapolated directly from patient imaging data seems boundless. The purpose of this review is to briefly outline the development of 3-D printing, discuss its applications across the many medical and surgical specialties, and attempt to address obstacles and opportunities facing radiology as this technology continues to be integrated into patient care.