Plants and Animals

Injured Sea Turtle Gets A 3D-Printed Jaw

May 18, 2015 | by Morenike Adebayo

Photo credit: BTech Innovations / In an almost three-hour-long surgery, this sea turtle will hopefully feed in the wild again.

This loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) has got his bite back with the help of a 3D-printed, medical-grade titanium beak.

Weighing 100 pounds (45 kilograms) and named Akut-3, the sea turtle was found after being mutilated in a boating collision. Quickly brought into the Sea Turtle Research Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Dalyan, Turkey, he was nursed back to health. However, to be able to properly fend for himself back in the wild, the staff at the center quickly realized his jaw would need to be rebuilt.

The center contacted BTech Innovation, a Turkish company that makes customized medical prosthetics and implants – usually for humans. Eager to take on the challenge for a reptile in need, BTech used CT scans of Akut-3 to custom-produce a brand new metal jaw for him to chomp away with once more.

 

 

If Akut-3’s body doesn’t reject the prosthetic, he will be returned to the sea.

Akut-3 is not the first animal to receive new 3D parts: Stumpy the box turtle gained a new leg that was designed by fifth graders in Georgia, Buttercup the duck received a new silicon foot, and TurboRoo the chihuahua is now speeding along on a custom-built cart with wheels.

Image Credit: TurboRoo on Twitter

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