Dog Gets 3D-Printed Skull After Tumor Removal, Revolutionizing Surgery

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Patches the dachshund is an exceptional dog, and now she’s the happy owner of a 3D-printed custom titanium implant. Unfortunately, she had a large brain tumor that grew into the skull, pushing the brain and eye. Thanks to Michelle Oblak of the Ontario Veterinary College, the pooch got a second chance at life. Moreover, this surgical intervention also means a huge step in surgery for humans.

Oblak had to remove the skull growth and replace it with an implant. But before that, they had to plan the intervention. In a video posted by the University of Guelph, Oblak explained the procedure.

The pooch is the first animal in North America to get a 3D-printed custom titanium plate. The surgery was performed in New York, at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca.

Considerably Reducing Surgery Time

Oblak teamed up with a team from the University of Guelph in Ontario – called Rappid, which is for rapid prototyping of patient-specific implants for dogs. Together, they mapped the tumor, created a 3D model of the dog’s head, and practiced the surgery on the model.

The same data allowed the team to create the 3D-printed titanium plate. This approach allowed the surgery to take a lot less time, as the matching implant was already created and ready to replace 70% of the removed bone. Half an hour after the surgery, Patches was awake. The team wouldn’t disclose the expenses of the procedure.

Oblak concluded that:

“By performing these procedures in our animal patients, we can provide valuable information that can be used to show the value and safety of these implants for humans.”

So far, scientists have developed many ground-breaking implants using 3D printing technology. In 2013, a person received a titanium skull implant, and one year later, a Dutch woman received a 3D-printed plastic cranium.

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere