3D-Printing for Radiotherapy Using Flexible Filament Materials

  • James Burnley

Student thesis: Unknown


Use of 3D-printing within healthcare is well established due to its ability to re-create complex geometry at relatively low cost and in a fraction of the time taken to produce such designs through conventional subtractive manufacturing techniques. Despite this, interpretation of the legal requirements for medical devices, concerns surrounding biocompatibility of 3D-printed materials, as well as potentially complex software workflows, have restricted uptake and more widespread development in a radiotherapy setting. Following a literature review of 3D-printing in radiotherapy and production of a clinical 3D-printed brachytherapy surface applicator using a rigid thermo-plastic material, a demand and research need for flexible printer filament materials was identified. Dosimetric and physical characterisation of two commercially available materials, NinjaFlex and Cheetah, was carried out in order to enable their use as photon bolus through assignment of an appropriate density override within the TPS. A clinical case study using 3D-printed flexible bolus to fill a nasal cavity of a patient undergoing radiotherapy treatment suggests it is an accurate, efficient and cost-effective method with the potential to improve treatment outcomes and patient experience. With focus on use of low-cost 3D-printers and open-source or in-house software solutions, it is hoped this research can provide a foundation on which more widespread use of 3D-printing within radiotherapy can be realised. Future research will likely focus on the suitability of 3D-printed materials as medical devices, improving workflow and integration within a radiotherapy department and addressing the environmental concerns regarding use of thermoplastics.
Date of Award1 Aug 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorGeoffrey Budgell (Supervisor)


  • surface mould
  • fdm
  • flexible
  • radiotherapy
  • 3d-printing
  • bolus

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