Surgeons normally train for years before they are allowed into an operating room to participate or lead in complex procedures. In the case of an abnormal patient operation, extensive planning of surgical procedures must be done to ensure the best possible outcome. These surgical procedures can be difficult to visualize with only CT scanned images, and do not allow the surgeon to practice the particular procedures. This makes the surgeons first attempt at actually performing the specialized surgical procedures to be on the patient.
Working with engineers in the Biomechanical Environments Laboratory, veterinary surgeons at Texas A&M University provide CT scanned images of abnormal patients which require surgery. These images are then rendered into a scalable 3D model. This allows for a more complete visualization which can further assist in surgical planning however, this process is taken a step further using 3D printing. After creating a patient specific 3D model, it is physically recreated and delivered directly to the surgeons. This allows for not only better specialized procedure planning but, practice performing the operation.
The video below shows the patient Halo prior to surgery. The 3D printed image shown in Figure 2 was created from CT-scans of Halo to assist veterinary surgeons at A&M with the surgical planning. Halo is expected to undergo surgery in April 2016, and an additional video will be added after recovery.