Usefulness of a 3D-Printed Thyroid Cancer Phantom for Clinician to Patient Communication

  • Dayeong Hong
  • Sangwook Lee
  • Taehun Kim
  • Jung Hwan Baek
  • Won Woong Kim
  • Ki-Wook Chung
  • Namkug KimEmail author
  • Tae-Yon SungEmail author
Original Scientific Report



Thyroid glands and surrounding structures are very complex, and this complexity can pose a challenge for clinicians when explaining and communicating to the patient the details of a proposed surgery for thyroid cancer. A three-dimensional (3D) thyroid cancer model could help and improve this communication.


A 3D-printed phantom of a thyroid gland and its presenting cancer was produced from segmented head and neck contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) data from a patient with thyroid cancer. The phantom reflects the complex anatomy of the arteries, veins, nerves, and other surrounding organs, and the printing materials and techniques were adjusted to represent the texture and color of the actual structures. Using this phantom, patients and clinicians completed surveys on the usefulness of this 3D-printed thyroid cancer phantom. Participants: patients (n = 33) and clinicians (n = 10).


In the patient survey, the patients communicated that the quality of understanding of their thyroid disease status was enhanced when clinicians explained using the phantom. The clinicians communicated that the 3D phantom was advantageous for explaining complex thyroid surgery procedures to patients, and that the 3D phantom was helpful in educating patients with relatively poor anatomical knowledge.


Using 3D printing technology, we produced a CT-based 3D thyroid cancer phantom, and patient and clinician surveys on its utility indicated that it successfully helped educate patients, providing them with an improved understanding of the disease.



None declared by all authors except Namkug Kim who is a stockholder of Anymedi Inc, South Korea. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dayeong Hong
    • 1
  • Sangwook Lee
    • 1
  • Taehun Kim
    • 1
  • Jung Hwan Baek
    • 2
  • Won Woong Kim
    • 3
  • Ki-Wook Chung
    • 3
  • Namkug Kim
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Tae-Yon Sung
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical Engineering, Asan Medical Institute of Convergence Science and Technology, Asan Medical CenterUniversity of Ulsan College of MedicineSeoulKorea
  2. 2.Department of Radiology, Asan Medical CenterUniversity of Ulsan College of MedicineSeoulKorea
  3. 3.Department of Surgery, Asan Medical CenterUniversity of Ulsan College of MedicineSeoulKorea

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