A dog with cancer receives a new titanium skull made from a 3D print

Patches before the operation Credits : Dan Lopez

Patches, a 9 year old dachshund, has recently had a successful operation on a large cerebral tumour the size of an orange.  Now he has a new titanium skull cap made with a 3D printer.  

The family of Patches, o that come from Williamsport, Pennsylvania could let their dog leave them so soon.  The poor animal had an enormous tumour that his skull was being deformed.  However the procedure that saved his life cost a lot of money. The family were given the details of Michelle Oblak a veterinary surgeon from Ontario Veterinary College from the University of Guelph who sometimes use the help of 3D printing technology.  Instead of inserting a titanium mesh in the place of the skull, the vet and her team were able to print a 3D impression of Patches skullcap in titanium.

Patches titanium skull cap, 3D printed. Credits : Michelle Oblak

The 3D printing technology meant that they could make a specially-made-to-measure replacement skull for Patches.  It is more precise and accurate and often less expensive than the methods usually proposed.  In order to make a 3D print, the vets have to first scan Patches’ skull to see the tumour.  Then could then simulate the operation with the computer, determining the exact dimensions of the new titanium skullcap.  This is all calculated out to the exact millimetre. The vet explained that, “There was very little margin for error.”

The measurement taken were then sent to ADEISS, a 3D printing company, which returned a few days later the brand new skullcap for Patches. However a four-hour long operation was still needed to remove the tumor and rebuild the skull.

Patches, after his successful operation. Credits : Dan Lopez

Unfortunately, although the operation was a success, the poor dachshund now suffers from another problem. A herniated disc has led to the paralysis of his two hind legs.


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