3D Printed Bones for Enhanced Diagnostic Surgery Planning in Veterinary Medicine


This collaboration initially developed between a radiology professor and the author as a mechanism to explore innovative ways of imaging objects (drills, computer parts, etc.) and reverse engineering the digital model for use as a pedagogical tool in design instruction. In executing the research and developing the process required in translating a CT scan into 3D Mesh geometry (a process that involves: removing metadata from CT scans, then repairing the mesh in a digital modeling software) the team observed that it would be possible to develop digital models of bones and soft tissues with relative ease and that the process was also cost prohibitive for the initial application, the analysis of products.

Observing that time to develop and execute the digital model and 3D print, the process is viable for diagnostics in non-emergency surgery. As a result, the team has utilized this process on two cases of rotated ulnas. The prints themselves not only enable the surgeon to see the bone condition at full scale but also enable the planning of the procedure. In the second of the two cases , the surgeon was able to devise a less invasive surgery having observed that the physical distortion of the ulna was not as severe as the digital imaging rendered.