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Injured sea turtle gets 3-D printed prosthetic jaw in Turkey

Pamukkale University's Sea Turtle Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation Center teamed with BTech Innovation to create the loggerhead turtle's prosthetic jaw.

By Ben Hooper

DENIZLI, Turkey, May 21 (UPI) -- An endangered sea turtle injured by a boat propeller has become the first of its species to receive a 3-D printed titanium jaw in Turkey.

Pamukkale University's Sea Turtle Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation Center said the loggerhead turtle, named AKUT3 by researchers, was unable to eat without assistance after being hit by a boat propeller, so researchers teamed with biotechnology company BTech Innovation to find a solution.

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The team used CT scans and computer software to create a model of the turtle's head that allowed them to design a prosthetic beak 3-D printed in medical-grade titanium.

Dr. Anas M. Anderson, one of the surgeons who participated in the 2 1/2-hour surgery, said the turtle's body appeared to be accepting the prosthetic during the post-op examination.

The turtle will be released into the wild once it has fully recovered from the surgery, researchers said.

It was unclear whether the turtle's new jaw would allow it to bite through steel cable.

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