Does Surgical Practice Actually Make Perfect?

Surgical practice has been a significant part of modern medicine for centuries. It involves the use of specialized techniques and tools to treat a variety of conditions in humans and animals. Veterinary surgeons play a vital role in surgical practice for animals, performing procedures that improve the quality of life and prolong the lives of pets, livestock, and other animals. This blog post will explore the different aspects of surgical practice as it relates to veterinary surgeons- answering that surgical practice makes (almost) perfect.

Types of Surgeries:

Veterinary surgeons perform a variety of surgeries, ranging from routine spaying and neutering to complex procedures like orthopedic surgeries. Elective surgeries like spaying and neutering are done to prevent reproductive-related issues in pets and reduce the overpopulation of strays. On the other hand, emergency surgeries like gastrointestinal obstruction or a ruptured spleen require immediate attention to save the life of the animal. Reconstructive and cosmetic surgeries are also performed by veterinary surgeons to correct deformities and improve the aesthetics of the animal.

Pre-Surgical Preparations Practice:

Pre-surgical preparation is critical for ensuring the success of the procedure and the safety of the animal. Before any surgery, the animal is thoroughly evaluated by the veterinary surgeon to determine its overall health status. Blood tests, urinalysis, and imaging tests like X-rays or ultrasounds are done to check for any underlying conditions that may affect the surgery’s outcome. The surgical team also administers anesthesia to keep the animal sedated and pain-free during the procedure. This can be practiced by 3D printing patient specific models, doing dry runs of the surgical set up, and planning the appropriate steps by hand.

The Surgical Procedure:

The veterinary surgeon performs the surgical procedure while the animal is under anesthesia. The type of procedure determines the specific tools and techniques used, which can range from traditional scalpel and forceps to advanced surgical instruments like laparoscopes and arthroscopes. The surgical team closely monitors the animal’s vital signs throughout the procedure to ensure that it remains stable. A surgical procedure can be practiced by various models or cadavers- specific to the anatomic region of the procedure- simulating real life tissues, tendons, and pathology of actual issues needing surgical correction.

Post-Surgical Care:

After the surgery, the animal is closely monitored for any signs of complications or discomfort. The surgical team administers pain medication and antibiotics to prevent infection and manage pain. The animal may need to stay in the hospital for a few days or longer, depending on the type of procedure and the extent of the surgery. The veterinary surgeon provides detailed post-operative instructions to the animal’s owner to ensure that the animal recovers fully. Post surgical care can be practiced by practicing suturing with models, using gauze on limbs, and practicing various techniques for wound dressings.

Advancements in Surgical Practice:

Veterinary surgical practice has made significant advancements over the years, with new techniques and tools continually being developed. Minimally invasive surgery is becoming more common in veterinary medicine, which involves making smaller incisions and using specialized instruments to minimize trauma to the animal. The use of lasers in surgery is also becoming more prevalent, which provides greater precision and reduces bleeding.

Challenges in Surgical Practice:

Veterinary surgical practice faces several challenges, including access to specialized equipment and training. Rural areas can lack the resources necessary to provide advanced surgical care, and veterinary surgeons may need to refer animals to larger cities for specialized procedures. Another challenge is ethical considerations, such as deciding when to perform life-saving surgery on an animal that may not have a high quality of life afterward. Additionally, not having the access to practice models can reduce the quality of care that a clinician or technician can provide to animals.

Veterinary surgical practice plays a vital role in maintaining the health and well-being of animals. Veterinary surgeons perform a wide range of surgeries, from routine spaying and neutering to complex orthopedic procedures. With advancements in surgical techniques and tools, veterinary surgical practice continues to evolve and improve. Challenges like access to specialized equipment and ethical considerations require ongoing attention to ensure that animals receive the best possible care. Overall, veterinary surgical practice is an essential part of animal healthcare and an essential service for pet owners and animal lovers alike.

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Why 3D Print For Medical Purposes?

Over the past decade, 3D printing technology has rapidly advanced and become more accessible, leading to its integration in various fields, including medicine. In surgical practice, 3D printing has been gaining popularity due to its ability to create customized, patient-specific anatomical models, surgical instruments, implants, and prosthetics. In this blog, we will explore the use of 3D printing in surgical practice and its benefits.

The Benefits of 3D Printing in Surgical Practice:

  1. Personalized Patient Care: 3D printing allows surgeons to create customized anatomical models based on patient scans, providing a better understanding of the patient’s unique anatomy. This allows surgeons to plan surgeries more accurately and reduces the risk of complications during the surgery.
  2. Surgical Instrumentation: 3D printing has made it possible to create customized surgical instruments, which can be designed to meet specific surgical needs. This has led to improved surgical outcomes and increased safety for patients.
  3. Implants and Prosthetics: 3D printing has revolutionized the production of implants and prosthetics. With the ability to create patient-specific implants and prosthetics, surgeons can improve patient outcomes, reduce surgical time, and decrease the need for additional surgeries.
  4. Education and Training: 3D printing has also been used to improve the education and training of surgical residents and medical students. Anatomical models can be created to simulate surgical procedures, allowing students to practice surgical techniques and gain hands-on experience.

The Use of 3D Printing in Surgical Practice:

  1. Anatomical Models: Anatomical models created using 3D printing have been used to plan surgeries, improve surgical outcomes, and reduce surgical time. A study conducted in 2020 found that the use of 3D-printed anatomical models improved the accuracy of surgical planning and decreased the time required for surgical procedures (1).
  2. Surgical Instrumentation: 3D printing has been used to create customized surgical instruments for various surgical procedures. A study published in 2018 found that customized 3D-printed instruments reduced surgical time and improved surgical outcomes in patients undergoing spinal fusion surgery (2).
  3. Implants and Prosthetics: 3D printing has been used to create patient-specific implants and prosthetics. A study published in 2021 found that 3D-printed implants improved surgical outcomes and reduced the risk of complications in patients undergoing spinal fusion surgery (3).
  4. Education and Training: Anatomical models created using 3D printing have been used to improve the education and training of surgical residents and medical students. A study published in 2020 found that the use of 3D-printed anatomical models improved the surgical skills of surgical residents (4).


The use of 3D printing in surgical practice has revolutionized patient care, surgical instrumentation, implants and prosthetics, and education and training. With the ability to create customized patient-specific anatomical models, surgical instruments, implants, and prosthetics, surgeons can improve patient outcomes and reduce surgical time. As 3D printing technology continues to advance, it is likely that its use in surgical practice will become even more widespread.


  1. Zhang, J., Xu, L., Wei, B., & Wang, S. (2020). The application of 3D printing technology in the surgical treatment of thoracic spinal tumors. Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, 15(1), 1-8.
  2. Shin, M. J., Kim, H. J., Ha, K. Y., Kim, Y. H., Kim, K. N., & Yoo, J. H. (2018). A feasibility study on the clinical application of customized 3D printed instruments in thoracic and lumbar spine
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Why Use Medical Simulation Models?

Medical simulation models are changing the way healthcare professionals are trained. They offer several advantages that improve patient outcomes, decrease errors, and enhance overall care. In this post, we will discuss the benefits of medical simulation models and how they are transforming healthcare education.

Realistic Learning Environments

  1. Medical simulation models provide a realistic learning environment that closely replicates real-life clinical situations. These models offer hands-on training opportunities, allowing healthcare professionals to develop and practice their skills in a controlled and safe environment. Simulation models can be customized to mimic a variety of patient scenarios, providing trainees with the opportunity to practice treating complex medical conditions- without putting patients at risk.

Improved Clinical Outcomes

  1. Simulation models have been shown to improve clinical outcomes by providing healthcare professionals with the opportunity to practice and perfect their skills. Through simulation training, healthcare professionals can identify gaps in their knowledge and develop new techniques to improve their approach to patient care. This leads to improved clinical outcomes, with patients receiving better care and achieving better health outcomes.

Reduced Medical Errors

  1. Medical errors are a significant problem in healthcare, with errors contributing to patient harm, increased healthcare costs, and reduced patient satisfaction. Simulation models offer a safe learning environment that allows healthcare professionals to practice their skills without putting patients at risk. By practicing in a simulated environment, healthcare professionals can identify potential errors and develop strategies to avoid them, reducing the risk of medical errors and improving patient safety.

Enhanced Teamwork and Communication

  1. Effective teamwork and communication are essential in healthcare, particularly in high-pressure situations. Simulation models provide a platform for healthcare professionals to practice working together and communicating effectively in a variety of clinical scenarios. By practicing in a simulated environment, healthcare professionals can develop the skills needed to work effectively as a team, improving patient outcomes and reducing the risk of errors.

Cost-Effective Training

  1. Training healthcare professionals can be expensive, particularly when training requires expensive equipment and resources. Simulation models offer a cost-effective training solution that allows trainees to practice their skills without requiring expensive equipment or putting patients at risk. Simulation training can be done on-demand, allowing healthcare professionals to fit training around their busy schedules.

In conclusion, medical simulation models are transforming healthcare education, providing healthcare professionals with a safe and realistic learning environment that allows them to develop and practice their skills. Simulation models offer a range of benefits, including improved clinical outcomes, reduced medical errors, enhanced teamwork and communication, and cost-effective training. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, medical simulation models will play an increasingly important role in training the next generation of healthcare professionals- and Med Dimensions will continue to be leading the way in this technology as we develop our models with Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality.

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Introduction to Medical Automation in Grasshopper pt 2

Check out the next video in our series with Vent Creativity. This video covers using Volvox, a Rhino Grasshopper plugin, for visualizing bone density using point clouds.


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Intro to Medical Automation in Grasshopper pt 1

Do you ever wonder how companies can work with medical images in CAD programs? Here is a small peak behind the scenes how we at Med Dimensions are leveraging CAD and automation tools to create the next generation of Innovative Anatomic Solutions.

Huge thanks to Gokce (Gilly) Yildirim from Vent Creativity for showing us the ropes.


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Triple Layer Suturing Pad Product Release

How do you place an ET when you can barely see the epiglottis? It’s not a rhetorical question; you practice!

Med Dimensions is proud to offer 2 versions of high quality suturing pads for the
teaching and learning of surgical suturing and knot tying: MD-E-0033C (3 slit) and
MD-E-0053C (5 slit). Minimum ordering quantity is five (5) units.

For anyone looking to practice intubation on a mesocephalic dog, our clinician designed and validated airway trainer has a hingeable jaw, hard teeth, soft and stretchy tongue, intact nasal cavity, and  soft epiglottis. These models can be used to place an NG tube and has exits for both trachea and epiglotis to show if the ET and NG tubes have been placed correctly.

Product Overview
This product comes in 2 versions: MD-E-0033C and MD-E-0053C.
MD-E-0033C is a triple layer suturing pad, replicating the epidermis, dermis, and
subcutaneous layers with three (3) 100 mm slits for a student to hone their
suturing skills.
MD-E-0053C is a triple layer suturing pad, replicating the epidermis, dermis, and
subcutaneous layers with five (5) slits of varying lengths for a student to hone
their suturing skills.

Key Features & Benefits
Made from a proprietary blend of silicones, these pads provide tactile simulation
similar to real anatomy, and layers are denoted with different colors. These
suturing pads have an embedded mesh to simulate the “pop feeling” associated
with suturing. Each pad arrives in a hard plastic case with non-slip feet to
increase the longevity of the pad. Additionally, the size of the pad is conveniently
low profile, so anyone can easily fit the pad in a backpack or other small bag.

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Canine Arthroscopy Trainer Product Release

Med Dimensions is proud to offer a canine arthroscopy stifle, MD-E-2000AR, with replaceable stifle joints and skin, MD-E-2000AR-1, now available for purchase.

Product Overview

MD-E-2000AR is a training model for teaching and learning arthroscopic procedures and analyzing different pathologies in a stifle, and to replace the use of cadavers in arthroscopy training. It is derived from a CT scan of the left hind limb of a medium sized dog. The model includes the LCL, MCL, Meniscus, Patellar Tendon, tendon of long digital extensor, patella, and fat pad in a replaceable sealed capsule that can be used with fluid.

Key Features & Benefits

Users are able to use all forms of arthroscopic equipment, without damaging the model more than a real stifle. The ability to practice realistic arthroscopy without the need of cadavers. The femur and tibia are 3D printed in resin to increase longevity, and is anchored to a based at the proximal end of the femur. The joint space can show different diseases/pathological issues, meniscal tears, OCD, CCL tears, and more.

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Standard Feline Intubation Trainers Product Release

Med Dimensions is proud to offer a standard feline intubation trainer, MD-E-0002SF, and a standard feline intubation trainer with an NG patch, MD-E-0022SF, now available for purchase

Product Overview

MD-E-0002SF is a model of a cat head, derived from a CT scan with a nasal cavity, teeth, epiglottis, and pharynx. It has user serviceable replacement jaws and tongue, and has calico cat coloring.

MD-E-0022SF is a model including all of the above, with the addition of a user serviceable replacement nose patch to hold suture for NG tube placement.

Key Features & Benefits

This model has a flexible jaw to allow for practice opening the mouth, and removable teeth. The tongue is textured, with clinician validated elasticity, with anatomically accurate landmarks. This model is threaded to fit any standard tripod, or be free standing. Additional custom options include: ability to be split in half for educational purposes, adjustable suction cup mount.

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Featured: Innovative Minds in Vet Med- Megan Sprinkle

Med Dimensions sits down with Dr. Megan Sprinkle, veterinarian and host of the Vet Life Reimagined Podcast.

When did you know you were going to be a veterinarian? I’m one of those veterinarians who loved animals from a very young age and dreamed of working with them. I wanted to be the Jane Goodall of dolphins. My father told my mother, “let her swim with the dolphins once and get it out of her system.” Each animal experience fueled my interest and curiosity, so I did not “get it out” so to say. 🙂 

What challenges have you been able to overcome in your career? 

Probably like most people, there have been many challenges along my career journey. From the very beginning, I had school counselors try to deter me from veterinary medicine, especially working with exotic animals. I had to be proactive in seeking experiences, staying curious, asking questions, finding mentorship even in small doses. One challenge was understanding that it’s okay to evolve my interests and explore new things. When I hit challenges in zoo medicine, I explored other interests and found that I really enjoyed different paths in veterinary medicine like small animal nutrition. Another challenge I’ve run across multiple times is avoiding the narrow perception of “veterinarian” from others. A veterinarian can do so many things and still be a veterinarian. Don’t let someone’s lack of knowledge define how you live out your veterinary life!

You’re the host of an awesome podcast- tell us about how that started and how you see it progressing in the future? 

While I wasn’t the earliest adopter of podcasts, I’ve been a podcast enthusiast since before 2020. I dreamed of starting my own podcast and started studying how to do it. Hopefully, my previous answers have shown my passion for career pathing and being creative and curious in the field. Also being a veterinarian in industry, I have many veterinary professionals ask me about other career options outside of clinics. The microphone that my sweet husband gave me shows up in Zoom calls, so I had a group whom I was teaching ask me about the “fancy” microphone. I said I was trying to start a podcast and told them my idea for a podcast that demonstrates all the different things people could do in the veterinary profession. I was met with such enthusiasm that it was the exact encouragement I needed to get started. 

You have a connection to 3D printing. How did you get involved in that and how do you see that platform growing? 

Back in 2019, a coworker convinced my husband to get a 3D printer. Mike’s natural figure-it-out skills had him quickly learning the art of 3D printing. In fact, our wedding decor, including cupcake toppers, were 3D printed by him using a single Monoprice mini 3D printer. He loved how it could be an outlet for creativity used both for fun and functional items. About a year later, Mike hit a huge wall of burn out from his IT career. Interestingly, one of the specific feelings he voiced was a loss of “creativity”. We sat and discussed how he could do more of what helped him feel creative and joyful. I believe that helping others is a great way to find gratitude and joy. Mike mentioned that he saw a lot of 3D printers put up for sale on Facebook Marketplace with descriptions like “Barely used; I couldn’t figure it out.” or “didn’t have time to learn it.” This frustrated Mike because he enjoyed 3D printing so much and believed people could learn with a little guidance. So, we started making YouTube videos to teach people how to 3D print. When I was convinced to go to the Veterinary Innovation Summit in August of 2021, I saw a booth for 3D printing, I was excited to find something that combined my veterinary background and 3D printing, which I had seen bring so much joy to my husband. It’s exciting when two worlds of joy meet – all striving to help people and animals. 

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

Mike and I recently moved to Savannah, so right now spare time is unpacking boxes, but I wanted to move to Savannah to be closer to the ocean, so I hope to spend more time walking the beach. I’m an avid learner, so I’m usually listening to podcasts and reading in every moment of spare time. I also feel the benefits of fitness, so I incorporate exercise daily into my morning routine. Some of my favorites are kickboxing and jogging on the treadmill with some fun music blasting in my headphones.  

Do you have a favorite animal you like to work with or is it too difficult to choose? 

One of my favorite veterinary moments was working with elephants in Zambia with the Elephant Orphanage Project. Spending large amounts of time with these animals, especially as babies was very rewarding. I admire their playful curiosity and the way they work together and care for each other. Hopefully, I will be able to spend time with elephants again in the future. 

Listen to the Vet Life Reimagined Podcast wherever podcasts are found, or view on YouTube here.

Follow Dr. Sprinkle on LinkedIn here.

Follow Med Dimensions on LinkedIn here.

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Angular Limb Deformities with Med Dimensions 3D Printed Surgical Guides

From Dr. Andrew Jackson

Honey is a 1 year old female spayed Beagle mixed breed dog presented with a right forelimb angular limb deformity. Her deformity was quite pronounced compared to the left forelimb, which had mild typical valgus deformity. Radiographs revealed a biapical deformity of the right forelimb.

I contacted Med Dimensions and presented this case and inquired about what type of support that they could provide. Although I have performed numerous angular limb corrections, the world of 3D printing and guides is new. We discussed the plan of printing both models, osteotomy guides and reduction guides based on CT. Everyone was very helpful in explaining the process and we had no problems getting the imaging to the team. We had a preplanning meeting with 3D rendering of the proposed correction. It was very reassuring to know that everyone was on the same page as far as general osteotomies and angles of osteotomies. Further 3D rending of the osteotomy guides and reduction guides helped to further visualize the surgery and the use of the printed guides.

Prior to surgery I received the guides and models in a very manageable time frame. Med Dimensions has a very quick turn-around from image capture to actual guides and models. We completed a mock surgery with mock guides. This allowed plate contouring prior to the actual surgery. The ultimate benefit to using the guides is reduction in the time operating and the decrease in stress. The guide, once in place, provided a nice template for an accurate cut. There tended to be a bit less consternation than there usually is when performing osteotomies.

Once the osteotomies were completed the reduction guide, which is my favorite guide, helps with reduction, obviously, but enables fine-tuning of the plate placement and osteotomy reduction. This is a real time saver and stress reducer!

Lastly, working with the Med Dimensions team was wonderful. Correspondence was quick, easy and punctual. The models were of excellent quality and the guides were also of excellent quality. I will definitely be working with the team again and would definitely recommend this team to any other surgeon. I think that angular limb deformity surgery and planning are things that require a lot of experience and that is important, but this process could help to lower the learning curve and definitely the time in surgery.

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