AU College of Veterinary Medicine using 3D technology for surgeries

3-D imaging is literally going to the dogs, as well as other animals in Auburn.

Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine is among the first programs in the nation to use three-dimensional printing and models for complex surgeries on animals.

"The one we are using at the moment is based on a small plastic filament being melted layer after layer following the pattern on the computer. So layer after layer, like you would build a scaffolding, it creates a model," explains Dr. Adrien-Maxence Hespel.

A grant was awarded for the purchase of The Makerbot 3D printer by the College's Information and Instructional Technology Committee.

The printer has already successfully been used in complicated surgeries for animals as small as Yorkshire Terriers and animals as large as horses.

"The more we use it, the more we realize that we can do a lot more than we thought we could, we believe it will provide better care for the patient at the end of the day," says Hespel.

By having a 3D prototype in their hands, surgeons can narrow their choice of surgical implants ahead of time.

Not all surgical procedures will need the 3D printer, but it can be used at the discretion of the surgeon.

"We believe we're going to be able to sterilize the model so the surgeons can actually bring it into surgery," says Hespel. "They can have the model in their hand at the same time the patient is on the table."

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