The increased use of external interventions to diagnose and treat podiatric medical pathologies has warranted a greater understanding of the lower extremity in the transverse plane. Films, prosections, and plastinated cross sections have long been used alongside traditional instruction to assist students in anatomical studies. These methods, however, often fail to provide the tactile component of anatomical dissection and may obscure or exclude the requisite structures for identification by medical students. Such teaching techniques prove costly, time sensitive, and dated compared with the relatively less expensive and customizable nature of three-dimensional (3-D) printing.
Limb length was measured on a cadaveric specimen, and eight cross sections of equal width were excised. Manual sketches of these sections were then digitized and 3-D printed.
Three-dimensional printing provides a safe and reproducible means to construct customizable cross sections of the lower extremity. Moreover, this method proves to be relatively inexpensive.
Advancing traditional didactic teaching with the use of cost-effective 3-D printing can facilitate the visuospatial comprehension of lower-extremity anatomy. The evolution of 3-D printing enhances the clinical skills essential for the interpretation of imaging studies as well as planning for surgical procedures such as external fixation application.