Using 3D Printing to Improve Surgery Planning

At the Quarter 2 All Hands meeting held in Sterling, Virginia, VSC Vienna's Dr. Justin Ganjei spoke to the team about how he has been exploring 3D printing to assist with surgeries and procedures. For example, he created a (bright pink) replica of a feline patient's skull as well as the forelimbs of a canine patient with an angular limb deformity.

3D printing is "the action or process of making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, typically by laying down many thin layers of a material in succession," according to Google. It can help with the planning of complicated procedures, including one for a recent feline patient who was diagnosed with a very rare condition, chylothorax: The surgical intervention was complex and included ligation of the thoraic duct, subtotal pericardectomy, and ablation of the cisterna chyli. Using images from a CT scan, Dr. Ganjei printed a 3D version of the patient's skull, which allowed him to better plan for and anticipate challenges with this surgery. (We're glad to say several months after surgery, the cat is doing great!)

Dr. Ganjei has been using a 3D printer at home and is excited to continue to learn about and use it to improve our quality of care. (He even printed a lime green Groot from Marvel movie hit, Guardians of the Galaxy, which was a big hit with the staff.)

Way to go, Dr. Ganjei! This is just one more way we are pushing the envelope of what's possible in speciality veterinary surgery.