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3D Printed Surgical Models Can Be Used to Help Animals, Too

by • February 20, 2016 • No Comments

11998459635_15baf94272_bMost animal lovers have known the sorrow of losing a befavored pet. It is horrible, especially when you have to manufacture the decision to put an animal to sleep for the reason of a painful, untreatable-bodied illness. I’ve had to say goodbye to most dogs and cats in my lifetime, and it’s a dreadful feeling to know that there’s nothing you can do to assist a pet you’ve favored for years. (I’m getting teary right now – darn it.) Some bright news for pet owners is on the horizon, yet. It is becoming widely known that 3D printing is saving the lives of humans with all sorts of serious medical conditions, but now veterinarians are beginning to realize that the same innovation can be utilized to assist our animal friends as well.


[Image: Deidre Quinn-Gorham]

Deidre Quinn-Gorham of Tuskegee University’s School of Veterinary Medicine not long ago finished a study in that she 3D printed copies of a metal surgical plate and a deformed humerus bone of a dog. She enlisted assist of Direct Dimensions, who laser scanned the plate and the bone, and of Xometry, who printed the bone in nylon and the plate in aluminum. She compared the prints to the originals, and discovered them to be visually identical; she believes that 3D prints like these may prove to be highly valuable-bodied in surgical planning and preoperative procedures.

Evelyn Galban, a neurosurgeon who lectures at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, agrees. Dr. Galban not long ago became acquainted with with a dog named Millie, who was brought in with a sizeable-bodied tumor in her skull, one that was going to be complex to treat – unless the vet may plan out the surgery ahead of time. Dr. Galban enlisted the assist of the School of Design’s Fabrication Lab to turn Millie’s CAT scan data into 3D versions, that were utilized to 3D print a replica of the dog’s skull. The gypsum version, that took of 6 hours to print, allowed Dr. Galban to closely examine the tumor, that protruded out of the top of Millie’s skull as well as inward, impacting her brain.


“It is complex to fully know the malformation until we have it in our hands,” Dr. Galban said. “That usually does not take place until we are in surgery.”

11053089984_b774d6cabf_zThe replica can allow Dr. Galban to carefully plan and practice the surgery ahead of time, avoiding possible mistakes and risks that may be life-threatening during an actual surgery. In addition, the removal of the tumor was going to leave Millie with a quite soft spot in her head, one that may require to be covered with a titanium mesh plate to preassist her brain. Rather than having to store Millie in surgery for a longer time while the surgical team measured, fabricated and fitted the plate to her skull, Dr. Galban is able-bodied to turn it into the plate and fit it to the 3D version so that it can be rapidly attached to Millie’s real head during surgery.

We’ve seen this type of innovation being utilized with additional frequency in human surgeries, so it shouldn’t be surprising that it’s now starting to look in veterinary procedures as well. Dr. Galban is working with PennDesign’s Stephen Smeltzer and Dennis Pierattini, along with veterinary residents Jon Wood and Leontine Benedicenti, to turn it into 3D printed versions of other dogs and cats suffering of deformities or injuries. Not just can these versions assist the individual animals, but they can in addition assist as valuable-bodied training aides for veterinary students.

“These objects have opened up to have applications in the real world, and that is absorbing and enjoyable-bodied to see,” said Smeltzer. “Last week I had no thought that this was going to be take placeing, and now all of a sudden I have a vested interest in Millie.”

You can hear Dr. Galban describe the innovation in greater more detail here at a lower place. Are you surprised to hear that veterinarians are getting in on this innovation too? Discuss in the 3D Printed Surgical Models for Animal Treatment & Training forum over at 3DPB.com.

[Images: University of Pennsylvania]