3D-printed beak saves rare bird from life-threatening cancer

Rare bird saved by 3D-printed beak

A bird diagnosed with cancer at Tampa Zoo in South Florida, has been saved after specialists created a 3D-printed beak.

Crescent, a 25-year-old, three-foot-long great hornbill, native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, was discovered to have an odd lesion at the base of her beak, which was later confirmed to be a cancerous tumour, normally fatal in hornbills. 

Zoo veterinarian, Doctor Kendra Baker, enlisted the help of several experts to save the bird.“Everyone was absolutely critical,” she stated. “Even if they weren’t present for the surgery itself, the planning and prep for this procedure were so important.”

It was the first surgery on a hornbill in the United States, with only one other attempt worldwide. The Zoo was assisted by radiology and 3D printing clinical application experts from the University of South Florida. 

“We built on that, utilised our own connections here, and it seems like it’s working pretty well for her,” said Baker. “It’s really exciting that we are essentially getting ahead of this condition in the species because historically, it has not gone well.”

“The fact that everyone worked together so well, and we reached out to each other so well, I think that ultimately helps everyone know that we all have each other’s backs, and we’re all in it for the medicine and to make sure that our patients are getting better,” she said. “Regardless of whether or not it is a bird or a human.”

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Written by

Joshua Manning

Originally from the UK, Joshua is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.