3D-printed beak created to save great hornbill with cancer at Florida Zoo – Boston 25 News
TAMPA, Fla. — Veterinarians at a Florida zoo have teamed up with a team of experts to create a 3D-printed beak to save the life of a bird suspected of having a tumor.
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ZooTampa veterinarians worked with doctors, biomedical engineers and veterinary specialists from two universities to remove the tumor from the upper beak of Crescent, a 25-year-old great hornbill, WFTV reported. Team members replaced it with a custom-designed prosthesis, according to WFLA-TV.
The bird’s carers had noticed a lesion at the base of its helmet, which is the helmet-like growth on a hornbill’s upper beak, the TV channel reported.
In a press release, Kendra Baker, an associate veterinarian at the zoo, called the project “a comprehensive effort” that included conversations with oncologists and imaging scientists, WTSP-TV reported.
“This tumor is usually found near the front of the helmet in hornbills, but hers was on the back,” Baker said in a press release.
“We wondered, if it was a human, what would we do?” Summer Decker, vice president of research and innovation at the University of South Florida Department of Radiology, said in a statement. “So we started planning how to fix Crescent’s helmet using the technology we use every day on our human patients – 3D printing.”
Formlabs, a maker of 3D printing solutions, was consulted to ensure the helmet was lightweight and durable for the bird, WFLA reported. Formlabs donated a substance to meet the needs of the team, and USF’s Department of Healthcare Radiology printed a surgical guide and helmet on a Formlabs printer designed for healthcare, according to the TV channel.
Acrylic and titanium dental screws were used to attach the 3D-printed helmet to Crescent, WTSP reported.
The bird has been doing well since the procedure, zoo officials said.
“An unexpected benefit came when Crescent began to preen within hours of surgery,” ZooTampa officials said in their press release. “The Formlabs resin was found to be compatible with the yellow smoothing oils secreted from the glands above his tail, giving the new helmet the same brilliant glow as his original.”
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