Background: Pulmonary diseases are the third leading cause of morbidity worldwide, however treatment and diagnosis of these diseases continue to be challenging due to the complex anatomical structure as well as physiological processes in the lungs.
Methods: 3D printing is progressively finding new avenues in the medical field and this technology is constantly being used for diseases where diagnosis and treatment heavily rely on the thorough understanding of complex structural-physiology relationships. The structural and functional complexity of the pulmonary system makes it well suited to 3D printing technology.
Results: 3D printing can be used to deconstruct the complex anatomy of the lungs and improve our understanding of its physiological mechanisms, cell interactions and pathophysiology of pulmonary diseases. Thus, this technology can be quite helpful in the discovery of novel therapeutic targets, new drugs and devices for the treatment of lung diseases.
Conclusion: The intention of this review is to detail our current understanding of the applications of 3D printing in the design and evaluation of inhalable medicines and to provide an overview on its application in the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary diseases. This review also discusses other technical and regulatory challenges associated with the progression of 3D printing into clinical practice.