Efficacy of 3D Printed Models on Resident Learning and Understanding of Common Acetabular Fracturers

      Rationale and Objectives

      The conceptualization of acetabular fractures can present a daunting challenge to radiology residents. 3D models have been shown to aid in the spatial perception of complicated anatomy and may help residents grasp the elaborate classification systems for these anatomically complex fractures. Prior studies have explored the utility of 3D printed models for surgical planning in various settings. To our knowledge, no study has evaluated their efficacy in radiology resident training.

      Materials and Methods

      Following IRB approval, 22 radiology residents were randomized and stratified by Post Graduate Year into two groups of 11 residents. Both groups received separate identical presentations on the 5 most common acetabular fractures given by a musculoskeletal trained radiologist. Residents in the experimental group received 3D printed models of the five most common fracture types with which to interact during the presentation, while the control group did not. Both groups received a pretest and a follow up posttest three weeks later.


      A Wilcoxon rank sum test was performed to determine if statistically significant differences between the pretest and posttest scores of the experimental and control groups existed. There was no statistically significant difference in scores on the pre-test, which confirmed successful randomization. There was a statistically significant difference (P = 0.02) on the posttest scores between the experimental and control groups.


      3D printed models promise as an effective educational tool for resident learning with respect to acetabular fractures, improving short-term understanding of complex anatomy and classification systems.

      Key Words


      3D (three dimensional), IRB (Institutional Review Board), MSK (musculoskeletal), PGY (Post Graduate Year), CD (compact disk)
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