11th August 2016
For the first time in the history of The Supervet, four brand new hour-long documentary specials go beyond the operating table to delve deeper into the science behind Noel’s cutting-edge procedures, revealing how he continually pushes the boundaries of veterinary medicine, with the help of special onscreen 3D graphics giving viewers a glimpse into the extraordinary ambition of Noel’s state of the art surgeries.
Everyday Noel faces new challenges that require exceptional solutions.
As with the regular Supervet episodes, we learn of the backstories of the families as Noel enters the newest frontier in medicine and pets go through operations, some of which have never been attempted in human or animal surgery before. We follow the stories of our featured pets throughout their ‘bionic’ journey; from the moment they are brought into the practice for treatment to their amazing physical transformations which bring relief and joy as owners are reunited with their beloved pets.
In tonight’s episode, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick harnesses two extraordinary technologies; 3D Printing and 3D milling to save the life of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with a rapidly growing brain tumour, and to replace the elbow of a 4 year old Norfolk Terrier.
Nine year old Cavalier King Charles Molly is brought to the practice by Tania with a large bump on her head. When scans reveal a potentially fatal tumour in her skull that is growing rapidly, Noel tries something he has never attempted before; using state-of-the-art technology to design a custom made 3D milled implant to replace the part of her skull affected by the bone cancer. The risks are high, and Noel must act fast to give Molly the best chance of recovery.
The bespoke 3D implant is designed digitally from her CT scans by Noel working together with a human implant company, Attenborough Dental in Nottingham, and then 3D milled out of titanium by in a matter of days. Noel then has to perform delicate surgery, cutting through Molly’s skull to remove the tumour which is next to the brain and replace the missing piece with the custom-fitted titanium mesh. “It really is extraordinary; we have not been able to perform this kind of reconstructive surgery with this degree of precision – until now”, says Noel.
Jane brings in her 4 year old Norfolk Terrier who is suffering with a bad limp. Noel regularly treats elbow deformities but Archie’s is the most extreme case he has ever attempted with an elbow replacement. The other options are fusion of the joint or amputation, but the only hope of restoring full movement to the joint is to design a 3D printed hinged elbow replacement.
Noel has never created a moveable joint with Archie’s condition before, so he calls in the help of his bioengineer colleague Jay Meswania and together they designed the implant, which was then 3D printed using a super-specialist machine in Belgium. The six hour operation turns into one of the most challenging elbow surgeries Noel has ever undertaken, but also one that transforms the life of both Archie and his family.