November 25, 2010
in the Indian state of Kerala say they have successfully repaired a
working elephant‘s cracked tusk in the first operation of its kind.
They performed the procedure on Devidasan, a 27-year-old bull
elephant, by filling the 50cm (19.6in) long, 4cm (1.5in) deep crack
with special resin. Forty-seven tubes of the resin were needed to fill the gap, which was causing the animal some discomfort. Devidasan was not tranquilised during the two-and-a-half-hour operation.
The dentist who carried out the
operation, CV Pradeep, told the BBC that the elephant was fully
co-operative and appeared much happier once it was all over.
Dr Pradeep said that he was able to do the operation after
discovering that the crack in the tusk could be tackled using the same
method for dealing with cracks in human teeth. The resin he used was specially designed to bond the crack together.
“It was literally an elephantine task, because we had to find specialist equipment and modify it,” Dr Pradeep said.
The elephant was not tranquilised during the operation and was fully co-operative
“The main difference between this and a similar operation
carried out on humans is that we were not able to use X-ray screening,because none of our mobile X-ray units was large enough to suit the
Dr Pradeep,a professor at the PSM dental college in the town
of Trichur, said that if the crack remained untreated dirt would have
gathered inside it and potentially caused a deadly infection.
He said it was difficult to say how long the crack would
remain sealed because no operation like this had been carried out
But he said that he expected the seal to last several years as long as the tusk did not grow too much in the meantime.
Devidasan’s owner was eager to get the operation carried out
because the crack in the tusk meant that the animal could not be used in
Now Devidasan has made a full recovery he has already made his comeback in temple festivals throughout the state.
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