3D printed mask saves puppy after she fractured her skull

A 4-month-old Staffordshire bull terrier whose skull was fractured by a bite from another dog is now healing, thanks to a new 3D printed mask.

The puppy, named Loca, was left with a broken cheekbone and jawbone, along with ‘extensive damage’ to other parts of her face after the incident.

According to the veterinarians at UC Davis, Loca was the perfect candidate to test out the Exo-K9 face mask – and now, months later, they say she’s recovering well.

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The puppy, named Loca, was left with a broken cheekbone and jawbone, along with ¿extensive damage¿ to other parts of her face after the incident. To aid the healing process, the team used a 3D printed mask developed with biomedical engineering students

The puppy, named Loca, was left with a broken cheekbone and jawbone, along with ‘extensive damage’ to other parts of her face after the incident. To aid the healing process, the team used a 3D printed mask developed with biomedical engineering students

THE EXO-K9 MASK 

The Exo-K9 exoskeleton is a custom 3D printed ‘cast’ for dogs with maxillomandibular injuries.

The team used the CT scan to specially craft a mask around the measurements of Loca’s head.

With a precise fit, they say the mask can help to optimize the healing process.

In this case, they used the 3D printed mask in conjunction with a padded neck bandage to help stabilize her neck. 

The Exo-K9 exoskeleton is a 3D printed mask for dogs with maxillomandibular injuries, according to the team.

It was developed in collaboration with biomedical engineering students at the University of California, Davis.

While Loca’s injuries were severe, her young age meant she had a better chance that her temporomandibular joint (TMJ) – the jaw hinge – would heal through natural bone regrowth.

The 3D printed cast works much like a traditional cast that would be used for a leg, for example, to help a fracture heal.

Upon arriving to the hospital, the researchers conducted a CT scan, revealing the full extent of her injuries.

Then, they performed a salvage surgery to remove bone fragments.

The team used the CT scan to specially craft a mask around the measurements of her head.

‘Loca did extremely well throughout her 3-day hospitalization,’ according to UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

‘She almost immediately began eating soft food and remained comfortable on her pain medications.’

Loca also had to wear a padded neck bandage for additional support.

While Loca¿s injuries were severe, her young age meant she had a better chance that her temporomandibular joint (TMJ) ¿ the jaw hinge ¿ would heal through natural bone regrowth. Researchers now say she's healing well 

While Loca’s injuries were severe, her young age meant she had a better chance that her temporomandibular joint (TMJ) – the jaw hinge – would heal through natural bone regrowth. Researchers now say she's healing well 

Upon arriving to the hospital, the researchers conducted a CT scan, revealing the full extent of her injuries. Then, they performed a salvage surgery to remove bone fragments.
The team used the CT scan to specially craft a mask around the measurements of her head

Upon arriving to the hospital, the researchers conducted a CT scan, revealing the full extent of her injuries. Then, they performed a salvage surgery to remove bone fragments. The team used the CT scan to specially craft a mask around the measurements of her head

The puppy spent the next month wearing the mask and neck collar – and, she wasn’t allowed to play with toys, bones, or anything hard that she could chew on.

A month later, she returned for a checkup, revealing she was recovering well.

Additional CT scans showed there was new bone forming where the old TMJ was.

And, at this time, she would be able to eat hard kibble to encourage the function of the joint.

The checkup also indicated that she was developing two malformed molar teeth.

A 4-month-old Staffordshire bull terrier whose skull was fractured by a bite from another dog is now healing, thanks to a new 3D printed mask. According to the veterinarians at UC Davis, Loca was the perfect candidate to test out the Exo-K9 face mask

A 4-month-old Staffordshire bull terrier whose skull was fractured by a bite from another dog is now healing, thanks to a new 3D printed mask. According to the veterinarians at UC Davis, Loca was the perfect candidate to test out the Exo-K9 face mask

But, as the healing process progressed, the team said Loca continued to recover well.

‘Almost three months later, Loca received her third cone-beam CT scan which revealed that her previous surgery sites healed well and that the new TMJ formation was progressing nicely,’ according to UC Davis.

‘The CT scan and full-mouth dental radiographs showed that her first and second molars on her right mandible were indeed malformed. Those teeth were extracted without complication.

‘Loca continues to recover well from her injuries, and all indications show the Exo-K9 to be a viable component to maxillofacial injury healing.’