Sears think[box] uses 3D printing for surgical planning to help put a puppy back on his paws
3D printing for surgical planning applications helped mapping out the leg of a spunky Shiba Inu-American Eskimo mix.
As a 3-month-old puppy for sale at a Pennsylvania pet store, Bento survived a terrible fall— fracturing its forearm. Even though Bento received immediate care thanks to an anonymous benefactor that paid for the surgery, its forearm healed crooked and weak. Then, bone structure developed certain complcations, which caused another fracture in Bento’s forearm.
The puppy severely needed subsequent surgery.
“I came into work one day, and there was this tiny, adorable little puppy staring out of a kennel. Even though his break was healing, he was healing with his leg sort of crooked… He missed out on some of his puppyhood”. Bento’s owner Emily Conway says. “He had been through so much already; he was so young.”
Andy Law, a staff surgeon at VCA Great Lakes Veterinary Specialists in Warrensville Heights, knew they had to be creative with this case. Fortunatelly, the search for a surgical solution led Andy to the Larry Sears and Sally Zlotnick Sears think[box], Case Western Reserve University’s innovation space.
“I’d never had a veterinarian come in and ask about 3-D printing,” said Malcolm Cooke, executive director of Sears think[box] and an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Case Western Reserve. “I thought, ‘Let’s try help this poor little puppy.’”
Planning Bento’s procedure
After hearing about Bento’s struggles, Cook turned a scan of the pup’s leg into a 3D model. Once printed, the surgeon used the piece to map out cuts and pin placement for practice.
“Hopefully get all the deformities corrected maybe in one bone cut instead of having to do multiple trigonometry type cuts,” Andy Law affirms. Certainly, it ain’t something that can’t usually be done until surgery.
Besides, Cooke did all the printing process without even meeting the canine in person. It is proof enough for other surgical planners to aid in certain process remotely, worldwide speaking.
“It was a wonderful experience. I’ve not met Bento yet, but I’ve seen lots of video of him running around, so that’s very rewarding,” said Cooke. He also explains: “Normally I work with orthopedic surgeons and dental surgeons… 3D printing is used a lot for surgical planning … It would have been impossible to have got to this level of detail in terms of planning. The planning would have gone on in the OR“.
Surgical planning using 3D printing expands for more species
In recent years, the team has also worked with surgeons at the Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine and the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Hospital to produce 3D printed models of skulls, ankles, wrists and other anatomy for research residents. and training.
They will continue to incorporate 3D printing into the surgical planning of more patients. For instance, there is a sheep with a broken leg that requires a similar procedure right now.
As for Bento, He now is making up for lost time by running and jumping around like a normal, happy puppy.