Regenerating Canine Jawbones with the Help of 3D Printers

Oral surgeons at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, have been able to effectively regenerate almost the entire lower jawbone in three dogs during the last year. The success of these surgeries can be largely attributed to 3D printers.

Employing cutting-edge biomedical technology and the active involvement of UC Davis biomedical engineers, the veterinary surgeons first remove bone fragments from an injured area, or an entire section, of jawbone. Provided that ample healthy bone remains in the rear ends of the dog’s lower jaw, they then screw a titanium plate in place on the remaining jawbone and use bone growth promoters to stimulate the remaining jawbone to grow new bone cells.

With the introduction of 3D printing, surgeons are now able to print a 3D version of the patient’s skull in advance of the surgery, which allows them to fit and contour the titanium plate in advance. This allows for an abbreviated surgery time and thereby decreases the length of time the patient is under anesthesia. As a result, 3D printing has helped create a safer environment for the patient.


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