Patches may be a dog, but she could end up being a role model for the treatment of humans with certain types of cancer.
Patches is a dachshund who had a large tumor weighing on her head, growing into her skull and pushing toward her brain and eye. Michelle Oblak of the Ontario Veterinary College performed a challenging surgical procedure on the pup to remove the skull growth and replace it with a 3D-printed custom titanium implant.
The Ontario Veterinary College detailed the procedure on Monday, saying the surgical use of the plate marks a veterinary first in North America. The surgery took place at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York.
Oblak worked with a University of Guelph team in Ontario called Rappid (rapid prototyping of patient-specific implants for dogs) to map the tumor and create a 3D model of Patches' head to allow for a practice run of the surgery.
The team was able to use the modeling data to create the 3D-printed titanium plate, which replaced 70 percent of the top of the dog's skull.
The practice model combined with the pre-made plate helped to reduce the surgery time, which would typically take much longer if a veterinarian had to remove the tumor and then create a matching implant out of titanium mesh in the operating room.