Creating customized oral stents for head and neck radiotherapy using 3D scanning and printing

Mohamed Zaid, Nimit Bajaj, Hannah Burrows, Ryan Mathew, Annie Dai, Christopher T. Wilke, Stephen Palasi, Ryan Hergenrother, Caroline Chung, Clifton D. Fuller, Jack Phan, G. Brandon Gunn, William H. Morrison, Adam S. Garden, Steven J. Frank, David I. Rosenthal, Michael Andersen, Adegbenga Otun, Mark S. Chambers, Eugene J. Koay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: To evaluate and establish a digital workflow for the custom designing and 3D printing of mouth opening tongue-depressing (MOTD) stents for patients receiving radiotherapy for head and neck cancer. Methods: We retrospectively identified 3 patients who received radiation therapy (RT) for primary head and neck cancers with MOTD stents. We compared two methods for obtaining the digital impressions of patients' teeth. The first method involved segmentation from computed tomography (CT) scans, as previously established by our group, and the second method used 3D scanning of the patients' articulated stone models that were made during the conventional stent fabrication process. Three independent observers repeated the process to obtain digital impressions which provided data to design customized MOTD stents. For each method, we evaluated the time efficiency, dice similarity coefficient (DSC) for reproducibility, and the 3D printed stents' accuracy. For the 3D scanning method, we evaluated the registration process using manual and automatic approaches. Results: For all patients, the 3D scanning method demonstrated a significant advantage over the CT scanning method in terms of time efficiency with over 60% reduction in time consumed (p < 0.0001) and reproducibility with significantly higher DSC (p < 0.001). The printed stents were tested over the articulated dental stone models, and the trueness of fit and accuracy of dental anatomy was found to be significantly better for MOTD stents made using the 3D scanning method. The automated registration showed higher accuracy with errors < 0.001 mm compared to manual registration. Conclusions: We developed an efficient workflow for custom designing and 3D-printing MOTD radiation stents. This workflow represents a considerable improvement over the CT-derived segmentation method. The application of this rapid and efficient digital workflow into radiation oncology practices can expand the use of these toxicity sparing devices to practices that do not currently have the support to make them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number148
JournalRadiation Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 19 2019


  • 3D printing
  • 3D scanning
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Oral stents
  • Radiation therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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