A turtle named Akut-3 was fitted with a new, custom made 3-D printed jaw by doctors at the Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation centre at Pamukkale University in Denizli, Turkey. The reptile was found badly injured at sea and brought to the center for rehabilitation. At first, the doctors healed the turtle’s wounds and hand fed her, but they knew they had to turn to something more drastic if the animal was to ever fend for herself in the wild again. They turned to a company in Turkey known for custom made prostheses, gave them a detailed CT scan of the turtle’s skull, then received a new beak made out of medical-grade titanium. The prosthesis perfectly fit Akut-3, who is aptly named like a cyborg.
This is the first time a turtle, or a reptile for that matter, received a 3-D printed medical implant. In 2012, ZME Science reported how an 83-year old woman had her lower jaw replaced by an exact 3D printed replica made out of titanium. Now, veterinarians are making good use of these implants, or prostheses. For instance, this dog can now walk again after being fitted with some custom-made 3-D printed braces.