In an attempt to perfect her neurosurgical techniques, Dr. Evelyn Galban, DVM, DACVIM, of Penn Vet's Ryan Hospital, has been working hard with an unlikely collaborator: Penn Design. This partnership between neurologists and designers has resulted in a 21st century miracle: a three-dimensional printout of a dog's skull rendered from a computed tomography (CT) scan.
In this instance, the dog has a brain tumor and the surgery Dr. Galban and her team are preparing to do is tricky because of the tumor's location and growth pattern.
When the dog was initially evaluated, the Penn Vet neurology team discovered through diagnostic imaging that the tumor was not only pushing against the skull, causing it to grow out, but it was also descending down into the cranial cavity towards critical arteries and veins.
To better prepare for the very delicate surgical procedure ahead, Dr. Galban and her surgical team are now able to use the 3D printed version of the skull to properly recreate where the points of difficulty will reside within the dog's skull and brain, thereby dramatically reducing potential problems.
In the video below, Dr. Galban explains how it works.