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3D-Printed Beak Gives Sea Turtle a New Lease of Life

3D-Printed Beak Gives Sea Turtle a New Lease of Life
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A sea turtle in Turkey was almost killed when a boat propeller hit it. The poor animal’s part of lower and upper jaw was crushed which left it unable to eat on its own. But with 3D printing, the turtle got a new lease of life. A group at Pamukkale University in Turkey decided that with a 3D-printed replacement jaw, the animal could be healed and brought back into the wild. The team then partnered with a Turkish biotechnology company and Turkey’s “first private R&D corporation,” BTech Innovations, to build a 3D printed beak and bring it back to life.

Read Also – Reduce Plastic Waste with 3D Printing

The 3D Printed Jaw

After finding the sea turtle floating in the ocean and almost dead, the rescue team had brought it to Dalyan Iztuzu Pamukkale University’s Sea Turtle Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. The turtle was then nursed back to health. However, sending it back to the wild was impossible as it was unable to feed on its own. At that time, the rescue team along with the tech firm carried out two months of research and development and built the 3D printed titanium jaw.

The Procedure

First, BTech Innovations took some CT scans of the turtle’s jaw and face. The scans were then transformed into 3D models with a software program called Materialise’s Mimics Innovation Suite. A team of surgeons, veterinarians and BTech researchers used other design software and movement analysis and created an almost perfect replica of the turtle’s actual beak, successfully.

As a medical team approved the design, medical-grade titanium was used to create a 3D printed mold. The mold was then airmailed to a medical facility where surgeons successfully implanted a 3D printed jaw in the turtle. This two-and-a-half hour surgery had an audience of physicians and is said to be the first of its kind. What is more important is that the implant was accepted by the turtle’s body and the animal is doing fine.

Right now, it is waiting to be released into the wild after it is fully healed with antibiotics and rehab. One thing is for sure, when the turtle weighing 45 kgs is finally released, it will be able to eat by itself.

What’s your take?

What do you think about this 3D printed jaw? Should other areas also start using this technology? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Image & Article Source – inquisitr.com

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