Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

Degree Level



Animal Science


Thomas, Lauren

Committee Member/Reader

Jensen, Morten

Committee Member/Second Reader

Powell, Jeremy


Bladder stones, also known as uroliths, are not an uncommon condition in domestic dogs. To remove these uroliths, which occur in various sizes, shapes, and compositions, veterinarians will perform a surgical procedure called a cystotomy. A cystotomy consists of creating a small incision into the lumen of the urinary bladder and the utilization of various methods to extract the uroliths. For general veterinary practitioners, the laparoscopic-assisted technique is unavailable. As a result, the methods available for urolith extraction are often limited to flushing the stones out by inserting a urinary catheter through the urinary tract and the use of off-label devices such as the standard tablespoon, teaspoon, or gallbladder spoon. Many times, these methods still make it difficult to remove all of the uroliths, especially the small ones that can be millimeters in size. Remaining uroliths can cause post-operative complications and discomfort to the patient. Three novel 3D-printed surgical spoons have been designed to find a dedicated solution to the difficulty of removing all uroliths from a patient’s bladder. Thus, the objective and innovation of this research could impact the standard of health care for companion animals and the veterinary industry. The novel surgical spoons were designed on a Computer-Aided Software, 3D-printed, and laboratory tested through cycles of autoclave sterilization, chlorhexidine solution soaking, and shear strength measurement using three-point-bend tests on an Instron Series 4466. Finite Element Analysis was conducted, validated using the Instron measurements, and subsequently used to estimate strength in the case of a cystotomy. Clinical trials at numerous veterinary clinics in Northwest Arkansas showed favorable experiences using one or more of the 3D-printed novel surgical instruments while performing a cystotomy compared to other traditional methods.

Keywords: Cystotomy, 3D-Printing, Veterinary


Cystotomy, 3D-Printing, Veterinary

Available for download on Wednesday, May 03, 2023