Our regular feature focusing on the work of North-East veterinary specialists Wear Referrals this week looks at the amazing surgery on Molly’s tumour, which involved a 3D printer.

MOLLY, a big and bouncing 70 kg Caucasian Shepherd dog, from Sunderland, had a bulging left eye and a veterinary eye specialist found a large mass in the orbit (the space behind her eye).

Recognising the need for advanced scans and an accurate diagnosis to provide a prognosis and best treatment plan for Molly, she was referred to Wear Referrals near Stockton.

Using 3D CT reconstructions and a tissue biopsy, surgeons found a huge tumour called a Multilobulated Osteochondrosarcoma.

If this type of skull mass can be completely removed, then the long-term prognosis can be good.

The problem was that the giant cancer located in her lower jaw (or mandible) was getting so big that it was also eroding through her cheek bone and her cranium, the part of the skull that surrounds her brain.

It was even difficult to open her mouth enough to place a breathing tube for her anaesthetic.

A 3D print was manufactured to help surgeons Mark Gosling and Jon Hall meticulously and precisely plan the procedure to increase the chance that all of the mass could be removed whilst making sure she would be able to use her jaw normally afterwards and have a good quality of life.

Jon Hall, a European surgery specialist, said: “Molly’s surgery was always going to be a challenge because major vessels and nerves would be hard to identify running around the huge mass risking life threatening bleeding, permanent damage to important nerves or fatal injury to her brain.

“Using the sterilised 3D model meant that every bone cut could be planned with exceptional accuracy and guide the complex surgery on the day.”

The procedure went perfectly and despite an unexpected infection a few weeks after the procedure which was treated with antibiotics, she is looking and feeling great.

Mrs Ferguson said: “We can’t thank Wear Referrals enough for everything they have done for Molly.

“Following the discovery that she had a seven-inch rare cancer behind her eye, Mark and Jon performed an eight-hour operation to remove it. Her aftercare has been absolutely wonderful.

“Without them, she would no longer be with us and because of them, she is back to her happy and content self and making a fantastic recovery.”

Surgeons Mark Gosling and Jon Hall said: “We’re delighted to have been able to help Molly; it’s why we do this job and we couldn’t be happier for her and her owners.”