3D printing of face shields to meet the immediate need for PPE in an anesthesiology department during the COVID-19 pandemic

Priscila R. Armijo, Nicholas W. Markin, Scott Nguyen, Dao H. Ho, Timothy S. Horseman, Steven J. Lisco, Alicia M. Schiller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Anesthesia providers are at risk for contracting COVID-19 due to close patient contact, especially during shortages of personal protective equipment. We present an easy to follow and detailed protocol for producing 3D printed face shields and an effective decontamination protocol, allowing their reuse. Methods: The University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) produced face shields using a combination of 3D printing and assembly with commonly available products, and produced a simple decontamination protocol to allow their reuse. To evaluate the effectiveness of the decontamination protocol, we inoculated bacterial suspensions of E. coli and S. aureus on to the face shield components, performed the decontamination procedure, and finally swabbed and enumerated organisms onto plates that were incubated for 12-24 hours. Decontamination effectiveness was evaluated using the average log10 reduction in colony counts. Results: Approximately 112 face shields were constructed and made available for use in 72 hours. These methods were successfully implemented for in-house production at UNMC and at Tripler Army Medical Center (Honolulu, Hawaii). Overall, the decontamination protocol was highly effective against both E. coli and S. aureus, achieving a ≥4 log10 (99.99%) reduction in colony counts for every replicate from each component of the face shield unit. Discussion: Face shields not only act as a barrier against the soiling of N95 face masks, they also serve as more effective eye protection from respiratory droplets over standard eye shields. Implementation of decontamination protocols successfully allowed face shield and N95 mask reuse, offering a higher level of protection for anesthesiology providers at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusions: In a time of urgent need, our protocol enabled the rapid production of face shields by individuals with little to no 3D printing experience, and provided a simple and effective decontamination protocol allowing reuse of the face shields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-308
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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