Use of Three-Dimensional Printing Models for Veterinary Medical Education: Impact on Learning How to Identify Canine Vertebral Fractures

Anna Suñol, Vicente Aige, Carles Morales, Marta López-Beltran, Alejandro Luján Feliu-Pascual, Jordi Puig
Journal of Veterinary Medical Education 2018 November 12, : 1-10
Vertebral fractures and luxations are common causes of neurological emergencies in small-animal patients. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of three-dimensional printing (3Dp) models on how veterinary students understand and learn to identify canine spinal fractures and to compare 3Dp models to computed tomography (CT) images and three-dimensional CT (3D-CT) reconstructions. Three spinal fracture models were generated by 3Dp. Sixty first-year veterinary students were randomized into three teaching module groups (CT, 3D-CT, or 3Dp) and asked to answer a multiple-choice questionnaire with 12 questions that covered normal spinal anatomy and the identification of vertebral fractures. We used four additional questions to evaluate the overall learning experience and knowledge acquisition. Results showed that students in the 3Dp group performed significantly better than those in the CT (p < .001) and the 3D-CT (p < .001) groups. Students in the 3Dp and 3D-CT groups answered all questions more quickly than the CT group (3Dp versus CT, p < .001; 3D-CTversus CT, p < .001), with no significant differences between the 3Dp and 3D-CT groups (p = .051). Only the degree of knowledge acquisition that the students considered they had acquired during the session showed significant differences between groups (p = .01). In conclusion, across first-year veterinary students, 3Dp models facilitated learning about normal canine vertebral anatomy and markedly improved the identification of canine spinal fractures. Three-dimensional printing models are an easy and inexpensive teaching method that could be incorporated into veterinary neuroanatomy classes to improve learning in undergraduate students.

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