Can 3D Printing Help Patients Better Understand Their Condition

Adapted from, Kleyer, Beyer, Simon, Stemmler, Englbrecht, Beyer, rech, Manger, Kronke, Schett and Hueber (2017)

If untreated, conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis can cause severe joint damage leading to functional decline. Luckily a number of Disease Modifying Anti-rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) are available to help reduce the painful symptoms of rheumatological disease, and assist in preventing joint damage and deformity. Despite these treatment options, research suggests that adherence to these medications is poor.

A patients understanding of their condition is a key determinant influencing medication adherence. Studies have consistently shown that the better a patient understands their condition, the more likely they are to adhere to them.  Information from a recent study published in Arthritis Research and Therapy suggests that 3D printing may help patients better understand their condition and in turn benefit medication adherence.  

3D printing enables the visualisation of a joint, and in this study, arthritis patients as well as healthy participants had a chance to receive their individual 3D joint models. These models allowed them to see first-hand how the disease effected their joints. The results of the research indicated that over 90% of participants would rethink or increase their medication adherence.

To read more about this research visit the link below:

Kleyer, A., Beyer, L., Simon, C., Stemmler, F., Englbrecht, M., Beyer, C, & Hueber, A. J. (2017). Development of three-dimensional prints of arthritic joints for supporting patients’ awareness to structural damage. Arthritis research & therapy, 19(1), 34.