Feb 10, 2019

Siberian Husky Fitted with 3D Printed Titanium Skull Implant

After a Siberian Husky was diagnosed with a cranial wall tumor, Utrecht University’s Clinic for Companion Animal Health acted quickly, removing it and fitting the dog with a 3D printed skull roof. The husky is making a speedy recovery.

There’s nothing extraordinary about using 3D printing to help animals, we’ve seen a greyhound fitted with a prosthetic leg, a hornbill with a prosthetic beak and a kitten with a wheelchair

However, what is exciting is seeing how human medicine and veterinary science can work together to improve medicine for all species.

In a European first, researchers from Utrecht University’s faculty of Veterinary Medicine and  University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU) collaborated to perform an operation to fit a Siberian Husky with a 3D printed skull roof.

Veterinary surgeon Professor Bjorn Meij said: “One of the main advantages of 3D printing of a skull roof is that it can be tailored perfectly to the individual, and a porous titanium edge can be printed. This edge allows the bone to grow into the implant so it becomes integrated into the skull.”

The dog was diagnosed with a benign tumour of the cranial wall called an osteoma. The tumor was growing both interally and externally and putting pressure on the animal’s brain. As a result, it needed to be removed and new skull roof implanted.

Veterinary Medicine and Human Medicine Collaborate

To help the husky, a CT scan was first taken of the dog’s skull. This information was sent to 3D Systems, the medical device manufacturing company based in Leuven, Belgium. A replacement skull was printed in titanium and implanted successfully.

Professor Meij is “delighted” with the success of the operation, which was a first of its kind in the Netherlands, and the recovery of the husky, who is now home and doing well.

As a result of the collaboration between the University’s faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU), both human medicine and veterinary medicine have learned a lot.

However, the collaboration between the Veterinary Medicine and faculty of Medicine at Utrecht University doesn’t end here and has been going on for years. In fact, the faculties are studying the use of titanium and the development of 3D printed implants for use in hip dysplasia in both animals and humans.

“We are collaborating ever more closely with human medicine, and this has led, for example, to researchers from Veterinary Medicine, UMC Utrecht and the Hubrecht Laboratory working together in a single lab. More and more is being published on dogs and horses and the translation of findings for comparable diseases in humans: hence the focus on One health – One Medicine,” adds Professor Meij.

Source: Utrecht University

License: The text of "Siberian Husky Fitted with 3D Printed Titanium Skull Implant" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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