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Experimental Prosthetic Surgery to Help One Dog Get a Leg Up

A three-legged canine's experimental surgery could lead to better prosthetics--for people and animals alike
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CASTING FOR PERFECTION:

The plastic models of Cassidy's bone sit at a nearby table. An engineering doctoral student who viewed the surgery took notes on future tweaks the team will make to the implant design.....[ More ]

SUTURE, CLOSE—AND CHOW-DOWN:

With the bulk of the nearly four-hour surgery over, the veterinarians and engineers start murmuring about lunch. It takes about an hour for the team to suture the muscle and skin to the holes in the titanium.....[ More ]

PINNING IT DOWN:

The team drills through the bone to create space for two titanium pins that will secure the fitting, which cups the bone.....[ More ]

A LITTLE PERSUASION:

Using a mallet, Marcellin-Little assertively taps the titanium piece to make sure it fits onto the bone.....[ More ]

MARGINAL PERFORMANCE:

Harrysson measures a plastic model of Cassidy's leg bone. As Marcellin-Little cuts the bone and contours it using a drill-like tool, he consults with Harrysson on how much to cut. The team takes off a few more millimeters than they had originally planned, but they can make up for the lost length with the new prosthetic attachment, Harrysson says.....[ More ]

TRIM AND FIT:

Marcellin-Little exposes the right tibia bone as assistants toss bloody gauze pads into trash cans. The whir of a small electric saw begins, and the surgeon trims the bone to a predetermined length so that the implant can fit.....[ More ]

CUT TO THE CHASE:

Marcellin-Little and his team make the first incision and begin to clear away the skin and muscle. The room is still quiet as the surgeon and his assistants speak softly, their voices muffled by their surgical masks.....[ More ]

MODEL PATIENT:

A computer screen in the operating room shows an x-ray of Cassidy's leg. Computed tomography images, made from a series of x-rays, helped engineers create a plastic model of Cassidy's stump and design a titanium implant to fit the remaining leg bone.....[ More ]

A LEG IN GOOD HANDS:

The room is quiet, save for the rhythmic whoosh of an accordionlike ventilator machine, as Denis Marcellin-Little, associate professor of veterinary orthopedics, examines Cassidy's leg and decides where to make the first incision.....[ More ]

PREPPING THE PUP

Technicians anesthetize Cassidy and diligently remove all fur from his right hind leg for surgery.....[ More ]

A MAN AND HIS DOG:

Steve Posovsky and his dog Cassidy, before surgery. "We're excited but a little nervous," Posovsky said prior to the nearly four-hour surgery on July 31 at the North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine to attach a titanium fitting to Cassidy's truncated right hind leg.....[ More ]

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