First bird with an osseointegrated prosthetic

Bearded vulture Mia

Why bearded vultures ?

They became totally extinct in Europe in the 1970s, so a reintroduction project was startet in 1978 and captive bred birds were released into the alps. Since then a number of over 220 birds was reached and Mia is also part of the EEP (European endangered species project). She will be used for breeding in the future and will therefore be important for the population.

When I first met Mia she was walking on a stump, which was really painful for her. She used to injure her skin serveral times when landing and walking around. Her left foot developed a condition called bumblefoot, which can lead to an infection of deeper tissues and the bone. All those things almost made us euthanize her, until I had that idea of an osseointegrated prosthesis.

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The surgery took place on May 8th, with Richard Branemark (Surgeon and owner of the company Integrum), Oskar Aszmann (Surgeon from Vienna, specialized in reconstructive surgery), Attillio Rocchi (Broad-certified veterinary anesthesiologist) and myself. Surgery time was 1 hour and 30 minutes and she woke up nicely. The next weeks I checked her daily, gave meds and changed her bandages. After 5 weeks I was finally able to tranfer her into a large aviary.

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6 weeks post-operative. The skin has healed and she is using her prosthetic, just like a normal leg. So fascinating!

Close up of her prosthetic, feathers have grown down 4 months after the surgery

Close up of her prosthetic, feathers have grown down 4 months after the surgery

Mia after 4 months after the surgery with her prosthetic- looks like a happy bird !

Mia after 4 months after the surgery with her prosthetic- looks like a happy bird !