3D Lab Groningen

3D Lab UMCG Groningen

A new era of personalized, patient-specific care. Facility
A new era of personalized, patient-specific care.
Our 3D technology experts focus on research and patient care. Research is performed based on the concept of 'virtual bench to bedside'. Our 3D lab aims to implement 3D technology into patient care. By combining high-tech health expertise and the most recent technological developments, we aim to achieve better, more precise, and personalized care.

It is a creative working environment where clinicians meet 3D technology experts and jointly develop ideas that will benefit our patients. Students from biomedical and technical universities are encouraged to bring their newly acquired skills and creativity to the lab and develop their own ideas.
Our research programmes include:

  • 3D virtual planning in surgery;
  • Fast track development of personalized implants;
  • Artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

Orthopaedic Surgery

The orthopaedic surgeons perform scoliosis surgery using 3D virtual planning and patient-specific guides. In this field, 3D technology is also used for the design and manufacturing of patient-specific antibiotic-loaded cement spacers that replace infected prostheses. In addition to surgical accessories, patient-specific implants can be produced as well. To find out more, please watch the video about the surgical planning of complex spine surgery.


Develop your idea into 3D reality

Our 3D lab helps you to develop your idea using 3D reality. We are experienced in developing 3D visualization for diagnostic purposes and designing implants or other types of medical devices for procedures or individual patients. We are experts in visualizing posttreatment outcome measures using 3D.

  • We provide the following expertise and services:

    • Patient-specific 3D visualization based on medical imaging techniques (e.g. CT, MRI, PET, ultrasound or a combination of these);
    • Virtual Surgical Planning, including predefining osteotomies, drilling, fixation, and tumour delineation, for instance;
    • Patient-specific Medical Device Design and Development (e.g. Groningen TMJ prosthesis, Cranioplasty, Oncologic Reconstruction);
    • Support with translational research;
    • Postoperative evaluation of surgical procedures;
    • Clinical and preclinical validation of new technology;
    • Application of augmented reality in surgery;
    • Application of artificial intelligence in surgical planning;
    • Education and training for medical staff.
  • Our lab uses medically certified software and devices for our patient care. These tools allow for visualization and virtual surgical planning as well as quantification of posttreatment outcomes. The 3D lab collaborates with the UMCG Research BV, which provides the 3D printers (FDM, PLLA, resin) to create 3D printed models.

Benefit of visualization or virtual surgical planning for patients

The 3D lab was launched in 2014. It was believed that the use of advanced 3D technology for visualization, 3D virtual surgical planning, and 3D printing would greatly benefit our daily care.

Within 5 years of launching the 3D lab, more than 1,200 patients who received treatment at the UMCG benefited from 3D visualization or virtual surgical planning provided by the 3D lab. In addition, 200 patients who were treated at hospitals in the three northern provinces of the Netherlands benefited from our expertise via the northern 3D clinical network, initiated in 2018.

See also: 3DLabGroningen

  • Students

    The 3D lab is a creative environment where students are actively involved in projects. We continuously receive students from the Biomedical, Technical and Computer Sciences from the University of Groningen and the University of Twente. The 3D lab is only accessible to personal and registered students participating in an active internship.


    After having received instructions and training, the students are required to sign an informed consent form. This covers rules as to how to handle research and clinical data. The main rule is that clinical work always comes first because the amount of equipment and number of software licenses are limited.

    • Instructions and training will be provided by assigned instructors;
    • Training by other parties is not allowed;
    • After you have received training and signed the informed consent form, the manager will give you access to the 3D lab;
    • Please find our contact details below.
  • 3D virtual planning in surgery

    One of the challenges in surgery is to predict the outcome of a treatment. Before the introduction of 3D technology, a surgeon was not able to compare the outcome of an operation to a preoperative plan. Nowadays, 3D technology allows us to make a 3D preoperative plan and to design tools like 3D printed surgical cutting guides and patient-specific plates to support the operation. After the intervention, we compare the outcome of the operation and quantify the accuracy of the procedures used. The aim is to make operations less surgeon-dependent and promote the adage ‘plan your operation and operate your plan’.

    Fast track development of personalized implants

    The philosophy of the 3D lab is to allow implants to be designed and produced so that certain clinical challenges can be met. To achieve this, a quick supply of 3D printed surgical cutting guides and patient-specific implants is needed. We are working with companies that are able to quickly produce and deliver (i.e. within a few days). As a result, 3D technology has become available for complex acute trauma care.

    Artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR)

    At the 3D lab, experimental work is carried out using state-of-the-art technology for processing data and visualization. We use deep learning strategies to improve and step up our processes and data-driven decision-making in daily clinical practice. To provide clinicians with the desired information, we use augmented reality technology combined with surgical navigation devices. In selected cases, patient education is supported with AR to provide insight into certain aspects of their treatment.

3D animation videos


University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
3D Lab Groningen
PO Box 30.001
9700 RB Groningen
The Netherlands

Visiting address
University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
3D Lab Groningen
Hanzeplein 1
9713 GZ Groningen

location: S3. 127, 3rd floor