Sea turtle given 3D printed jaw after boating accident
by Zoe Dickens
A sea turtle which lost half its jaw after colliding with a boat propeller has been fitted with a 3D-printed prosthetic version.
The 45kg animal was taken to the sea turtle Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation centre at Pamukkale University in Denizli, Turkey after being found badly injured in the sea. Staff initially nursed the turtle, now named Akut-3, back to health via hand feeding but it soon became apparent this could not be a long-term solution.
The centre then called Turkish custom prosthetics specialists BTech Innovations who used detailed CT scans of the turtle’s jaw to design a prosthetic that would perfectly fit the wound and restore the animal’s ability to feed. BTech then printed the new jaw using medical-grade titanium and had surgeons fit it to Akut-3; if the turtle’s body does not reject the prosthetic then it will be released back into the wild shortly.
Akut-3 is not the first sea creature to benefit from the advances of modern technology. In March a tortoise name Cleopatra received a custom plastic shell designed by a student at Colorado Technical University after her natural one deteriorated due to a poor diet.