A 3D plan for surgery

A 3D plan for surgery

Over the past 40 years or so, 3D printing has become a valuable tool in human health care. Now, it’s shaking up veterinary medicine, too.

When it comes to planning surgeries, 2-dimensional images — such as X-rays and even CAT scans — only tell part of the story. But when data from these imaging tests is fed into a 3D printer, a precise replica of the body structure is created.

Surgeons use that model to plan where they’ll make incisions and approach their target so that they can minimize surgery time — and anesthesia — as well as tissue trauma. The end goal is to improve outcomes for animals.

3D printing is making the biggest splash in orthopedic and neurologic procedures performed at teaching hospitals. But with the technology growing by leaps and bounds, the possibilities may be endless.

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