Rapid prototyping in the operating room ranges from the planning of bone cuts to the custom fit of implants. Several rapid prototyping methods are used to produce anatomical models for a wide range of both soft and hard tissue surgeries. One method, used to create anatomical models for nearly any part of the body, is stereo-lithography, which rapidly produces a three-dimensional object by curing a liquid resin under a computer-guided laser. The technology itself has limitations barring its use in widespread applications. Today's rapid prototyping machines are bulky and complicated to run, and the modeling materials are sometimes hazardous in liquid form. Rapid prototyping offers surgeons an option not available by any other means. As a tactile tool, anatomical modeling provides substantially more information than 2D imaging modalities. The future may lead to surgeons' acceptance of less expensive models using 3D printing or multijet modeling over stereolithography.

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