In an Australian first, Southpaws Speciality Surgery for Animals is using 3D printing technology for faster and more accurate diagnosis and surgery. Dr Charles Kuntz is quick to admit that he is always on the look-out for new technologies to improve his practice. The recent acquisition of a uPrint SE Printer has enable the surgeon to model a critical joint or physiological feature.
“Take for example, a dog that has a bone chip in the elbow joint,” explains Dr Kuntz. “The initial CT scan or X-ray will likely show the problem, but it is difficult to explain to the family how it has occurred and what treatment is required. With a model of the joint showing where the damage has occurred, not only can the referring vet make a better judgement on whether specialist surgery is required, but can also show the pet owner how it will be done.”
The 3D printer is proving to be a useful tool for assessment of tumour removal techniques, as a template for surgical incisions on bone and for research into atypical conditions for dogs and cats.
In addition, Dr Kuntz is using the 3D printer to design orthopaedic implant devices to assist in the stabilisation and repair of affected bones and joints.
“The more we use the 3D Printer, the more uses we find for it,” says Dr Kuntz. “We can now use the models to plan our surgical approach, or use it to make a model for bone replacement out of titanium. We have also used it to make a mould out of putty that we can sterilise and place on the bone as a cutting template.” …
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