Dr. Thoesen Uses 3D Printer for Corrective Osteotomy on Puppy

Doctor Thoesen’s girls wanted a new dog—period.  Any dad knows what that’s like, “please daddy, please…?” And– since his wife was the one leading the charge, well– it was pretty much a done deal.  Time to look for a dog. But what kind of dog? The family never had a “purebred” dog before, but they decided they wanted a lab or a lab mix of some sort. Even more specifically, a service dog that was rejected from a program for either a minor behavioral reason or a medical issue, so they got on a list and waited…

Now they really weren’t looking for a puppy, per se, but when Emma was born with a congenital defect of her radius/ulna that would limit her ability to work or even walk normally, the Thoesen’s suddenly found themselves at the top of the list at Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Emma, an adorable little black lab puppy, came to the Thoesen household at 12 weeks of age, just in time to undergo a surgery to correct her deformity. Her congenital radial head luxation is a rare defect that can be seen in multiple breeds. This type of defect, in which the radial head doesn’t articulate with the humeral condyle, also causes the growth rate between the radius and the ulna to differ, seriously affecting the functionality of the elbow joint, causing pain and lameness.  Surgical intervention is usually the only treatment for such a deformity.  Luckily for Emma, her dad is an excellent board certified surgeon. It’s the planning that’s the tricky part.

Within days of becoming a family member, Emma was at the clinic for an extensive ortho workup, which consisted of radiographs and a CT scan of both forelimbs for comparison’s sake. But here’s the really cool part. We recently acquired a 3D printer to add to our arsenal of cutting edge technology to diagnose and treat challenging  surgical cases.  Dr. Thoesen used Emma’s CT scans to print out exact replicas of her bones so that he could tangibly come up with a plan to address her deformity. Very exciting! Up until now, surgeons had to rely on a two-dimensional view for surgical planning.

Though Emma’s elbow will never be completely normal, using the plan that he mocked up on Emma’s 3D printed bones, Dr. Thoesen was able to improve the position of her radius with a plate and a small wedge osteotomy. She recently came in for her two-week recheck radiographs and, so far, so good.


The hard part now is trying to keep an exuberant lab puppy down until she heals!

Posted June 29, 2018 by Animal Surgical in Noteworthy with No Comments and tagged as , , , ,

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