3D printing of urethral dilators

Study level

Vacation research experience scheme

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Professor Mia Woodruff
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty

External supervisors

  • Dr Nicholas Rukin, Redcliffe Hospital


The urethra is a tube that drains urine from the bladder and can sometimes narrow due to injury and infection, known as urethral strictures. Passing increasing sized metal urethral sound dilators through male urethral strictures was the classical treatment for strictures. Although success rates are around 65%, these procedures are surgeon dependant and carry the risk of inadverted trauma to the delicate urethral membrane.

Most surgeons now use a Seldinger technique, with the Cook S-curve© dilators. These offer a safe, effective and reproducible dilatation of the stricture. These single use devices cost $650 per set and we estimate Metro North Hospitals spends over $100,000 per year on these. We aim to develop an alternative surgical equipment to treat these strictures.

Research activities

  • 3D printing of urethra model
  • Designing of dilators for stricture treatment


To design a surgical device for treating urethral strictures with the following properties:

  • resusable
  • complements the anatomy of the urethra to aid gradual dilatation of the stricture
  • enables safe access to blood vessel and urethra
  • easily reproducible

Skills and experience

Experience in 3D printing and designs are favourable.



Contact the supervisor for more information.