AccScience Publishing / IJB / Volume 9 / Issue 6 / DOI: 10.36922/ijb.0969
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3D printing and bioprinting in urology

Kun Liu1 Nan Hu2 Zhihai Yu1 Xinzhou Zhang2 Hualin Ma2* Huawei Qu3* Changshun Ruan3*
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1 Department of Urology, Three Gorges Hospital, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China
2 Department of Nephrology, Shenzhen People’s Hospital (The Second Clinical Medical College, Jinan University; The First Affiliated Hospital, Southern University of Science and Technology), Shenzhen, China
3 Research Center for Human Tissue and Organs Degeneration, Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen, China
Submitted: 21 May 2023 | Accepted: 4 July 2023 | Published: 10 August 2023
© 2023 by the Author(s). This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( )

Three-dimensional (3D) printing with highly flexible fabrication offers unlimited possibilities to create complex constructs. With the addition of active substances such as biomaterials, living cells, and growth factors, 3D printing can be upgraded to 3D bioprinting, endowing fabricated constructs with biological functions. Urology, as one of the important branches of clinical medicine, covers a variety of organs in the human body, such as kidneys, bladder, urethra, and prostate. The urological organs are multi-tubular, heterogeneous, and anisotropic, bringing huge challenges to 3D printing and bioprinting. This review aims to summarize the development of 3D printing and bioprinting technologies in urology in the last decade based on the Science Citation Index-Expanded (SCI-E) in the Web of Science Core Collection online database (Clarivate). First, we demonstrate the search strategies for published papers using the keywords such as “3D printing,” “3D bioprinting,” and “urology.” Then, eight common 3D printing technologies were introduced in detail with their characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages. Furthermore, the application of 3D printing in urology was explored, such as the fabrication of diseased organs for doctor–patient communication, surgical planning, clinical teaching, and the creation of customized medical devices. Finally, we discuss the exploration of 3D bioprinting to create in vitro bionic 3D environment models for urology. Overall, 3D printing provides the technical support for urology to better serve patients and aid teaching, and 3D bioprinting enables the clinical applications of fabricated constructs for the replacement and repair of urologically damaged organs in future.

3D printing
This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program (Grant No. 2018YFA0703100), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 32122046), the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of CAS (Grant No. 2019350), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (Grant No. 2023M733668), the Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation (2020A1515111190), the Shenzhen Fundamental Research Foundation (JCYJ20210324113001005), the Shenzhen Governmental Sustainable Development Fund (KCXFZ20201221173612034), the Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Kidney Diseases (ZDSYS201504301616234), and the Shenzhen Fund for Guangdong Provincial Highlevel Clinical Key Specialties (No. SZGSP001).
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interests
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International Journal of Bioprinting, Electronic ISSN: 2424-8002 Print ISSN: 2424-7723, Published by AccScience Publishing