To describe the use of a customized 3–D-printed titanium prosthesis as adjunctive treatment for foramen magnum decompression (FMD) in dogs with Chiari-like malformation (CM) and syringomyelia (SM).
8 dogs with clinical signs and MRI findings of CM-SM.
3-D reconstruction of CT images of the head was used to simulate an occipital craniectomy and design the prosthesis. FMD was performed, and the prosthesis was implanted. Follow-up was performed 1, 6, and 12 months later, and clinical status was scored. Repeated MRI images were compared to identify changes involving the neural structures, particularly the syrinx.
All prostheses were easily positioned based on the preoperative 3-D models, with no complications. At 12 months after surgery, 3 dogs were free of previous medications, 4 were still receiving steroid medications but at lower doses, and 1 was occasionally receiving acupuncture. MRI of 5 dogs 6 to 20 months after surgery revealed resolution of SM (n = 1), reduced size of SM (3), or worse SM (1). All dogs showed an increase in size of the caudal cranial fossa. Dogs with a longer presurgical duration of the clinical signs and wider syrinx generally had worse outcomes than other dogs.
Findings suggested that use of customized 3–D-printed titanium prosthesis and associated FMD can represent an adjunctive option to medically treated dogs with CM-SM. Although the small number of cases precludes definitive conclusions, early surgical treatment, particularly in dogs with a small syrinx, could ensure better long-term outcomes, as previously suggested.