Bitch is saved from tumor with skull implant and 3D printed part

When 3D printers began to be distributed on a commercial scale since the beginning of these 2010s, many people began to wonder how many things we could do with them - and the medical industry was the most excited. Now we are beginning to see practical examples of how this technology can be used to help save lives: a 9-year-old Dachshund dog has been saved thanks to a 3D-printed skull implant.

Well, Patches suffered from a brain tumor that grew alarmingly big to an orange. That's when Michelle Oblak, a veterinary oncologist-surgeon at Gueplh University in Ontario, Canada, came on the scene. She was studying a way to use the 3D printer to treat dogs, and the first case of this type of treatment was with this little animal.

dog 3d printer

Since the cancer was in an advanced stage, it would be necessary to remove about 70% of the skull bone and at the same time of removal, replace part of the area removed during surgery with a recreated titanium with the help of a 3D printer. The standard procedure, without the aid of this technology, is much more inaccurate, expensive and time consuming.

How was the surgery?

The new method began with a CT scan of Patches' head and tumor. Then various software was used for this capture so that Michelle and her team could dissect exactly every bit affected by the disease. From this mapping, they were able to reproduce the 3D digital pieces, which were sent to ADEISS, a London company capable of printing a titanium replacement for the removed part of Patches's skull.


The entire procedure involved several veterinary surgeons, software engineers and an industrial engineer. It took 2 hours to map the plans and send them to the printer. The play was completed in 2 weeks and the surgery, which took place on March 23 this year, took 4 hours.

"There's very little room for error. We're talking less than 2 millimeters, or else the sign won't fit, " said the veterinarian. And in the end, everything worked out. After 30 minutes awake, the pet was already walking and peeing .


Unfortunately, Patches is having to deal with another serious health problem unrelated to this surgery. A week after the operation, she suffered a back injury and is now paralyzed with her hind legs. Now refuses to use a wheelchair, preferring to push forward with both front legs. At any rate, it at least gained a survival thanks to the technology and intervention of Michelle and several other professionals.