RMIT engineers 3D print custom bone implant for injured dog

University of Queensland and RMIT researchers have teamed up to provide an old dog with a new bone, 3D printed out of titanium alloy. 

According to a statement for UQ, Seymour was presented to the university’s UQ Vets Small Animal Hospital by owner Sonya, and had numerous health problems. Among these was a leg that may have been broken for years.

The vets contacted Professor Milan Brandt from RMIT, who worked with postdoctoral researcher Dr Darpan Shidid to develop

Seymour’s e-ray (UQ)

an implant. Brandt and Shidid have been involved in patient-specific 3D printed orthopaedic implant research for several years.

“After examining Seymour’s CT scans, we designed a robust lattice structure that would support his weight and attached it to a custom-designed plate fitted exactly to his misshaped bone,” said Brandt, the Technical Director of RMIT’s Advanced Manufacturing Precinct and the Director of its Centre for Additive Manufacturing

“The lattice fills the bone defect to restore the femur to its normal length and alignment, while allowing growth of new bone as the femur heals – eventually the implant becomes a part of the healed bone.”

Dr Jayne McGhie, an animal surgeon, said a bone graft was taken from the dog’s shoulder to encourage bone growth into the lattice.

“This was mixed with canine demineralised bone and Seymour’s own platelet rich plasma and then pressed into the lattice of the bone plate.

“The lattice and the plate were then placed into the bone defect of Seymour’s left femur and secured in place.”

Seymour has made a successful recovery, said Sonya, and can go on walks again and “can do his excited twirls for food without a limp.”

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