Veterinary surgeons fixed a deformed parrot beak with 3D printed titanium prosthesis

March 3rd, 2016 | by LubosTomiska
Veterinary surgeons fixed a deformed parrot beak with 3D printed titanium prosthesis

banner araraunaA very special surgery was performed by a team of vets from the Renato Archer Technology and Information Center (CTI) in Campinas, Brazil. As the first in the world, they implanted an artificial upper mandible, which was created in the 3D printer. The patient, Blue and Gold Macaw “Gigi”, was confiscated from animal trader. The bird possessed a seriously deformed beak and therefore couldn’t eat properly. A few days after the surgery, the bird became able to consume solid foods again. This success would not have been achieved without the vet team leader Roberto Fecchio, 3D designer and specialist in facial reconstruction Cicero Moraes and veterinary dentist Paul Miamoto.


3D printer has helped to toucan before

This is not the first case when 3D printer helped to a handicapped animal. The team of vets from Animal Care Center in Ipiranga, Sao Paulo, already developed and used artificial tortoise shell or a fake beak for a toucan. However, in both mentioned surgeries vets decided to use plastic and now they used titanium. It is obvious, as macaws need their beak to crack hard nuts. On the other hand, material has to be light and resistant to corrosion.



At the first phase of the whole procedure an X-ray photograph was taken and transformed to digital 3D model. After that, experts from CTI loaded this data to 3D printer and created the prosthesis. The surgery was performed on February 18th in Animal Care center in Sao Paulo by vets Roberto Fecchio, Sergio Camargo, Rodrigo Rabello and Methus Rabello. The titanium prosthesis was attached with bone cement and orthopaedic screws. “Just 48 hours after the surgery, Gigi is already showing great adaptation to the prosthetic!” wrote the Center for Research and Screening of Wild Animals at Unimonte University.


Gigi is not coming back to the wild

“It is extremely rewarding to return the quality of life to an animal, and after seeing the before and after picture, there is a huge sense of accomplishment,” said vets who performed the surgery. This situation helped to point out the issue of illegal trade of wild animals in Brazil. According to Robert Fecchio, one of the vets, Gigi was saved because of municipal police intervention in Praia Grance. After that, the Blue and Gold Macaw was sent to Unimonte University. “Thank you for the excellent work of Dr. Roberto Fecchio and the entire staff for providing this quality of life for a beautiful animal that has suffered greatly in illegal captivity” said the university staff.


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Despite the successful surgery, vets do not believe that Gigi may survive with the 3D prosthesis in the wild because it has been living in captivity for many years before. However, they would like to send this bird to some of Brazilian ZOOs.

3D prosthesis production is becoming more and more popular in dogs, cats and other pets. These all are cases when a universal prosthesis cannot be used. However, the surgery is difficult to perform and only experienced teams can do that. The story of Gigi or toucan Grecio give chance to other handicapped animals which were injured.


Title photo: (c)


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