Titanium Turtle

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Scientists are taking 3-D Printing to a whole new level. A sea turtle seriously injured in a boating collision has been given the ability to eat again — after receiving a 3D-printed prosthetic jaw.

The endangered loggerhead turtle was hit by a boat propeller while swimming in its natural habitat in Turkey. As a result of its injuries, the turtle was unable to eat on its own, leaving its chances of returning back to the wild looking very slim.

However, a collaboration with BTech Innovation, a Turkish biotechnology company specialising in 3D medical prosthetics, devised an innovative 3D titanium jaw to save the turtle from a lifetime in captivity. Using  CT scans and computer software, they created a 3D model of the turtle’s beak. From that they designed a prosthetic replacement, which was then 3D-printed in medical-grade titanium.The surgery, said to be the first of its kind. Although the turtle is still recovering, initial signs look promising. Apparently, the creature’s body showed no signs of rejecting the implant.

The scientific team plans to release it back into the ocean once again. It’s hoped that this pioneering surgery will be able to help more injured sea turtles in the future and improve their chances of survival.

courtesy of WIRED

 

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