By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

BROOKFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — A 10-year-old Amur tiger who resides at the Brookfield Zoo will have a better quality of life thanks to a groundbreaking surgery.

The tiger, Malena, was photographed on the operating table on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Two Chicago Police Officers Shot On South Lawndale Released From Hospital

When she arrived at Brookfield Zoo last summer, she already had degenerative arthritis. It’s a common disorder in older animals.

On Wednesday, doctors there performed a total hip replacement with a custom-designed implant.

READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Warming Trend Continues, 80s By End Of Week

The surgery took longer than expected at six-and-a-half hours. But the doctors say it was a complete success and they are confident the new hip will add years to the tiger’s life.

“Tigers develop the same type of arthritic changes as they age. Some of us develop those changes earlier in life than others. Malena, unfortunately, was, you know, a cat that developed those changes relatively young age at 10 years of age,” said Dr. Michael Adkesson, vice president of clinical medicine for the Chicago Zoological Society. “This procedure has not been done in a large cat before with a custom-made patient-matched implant like what we’re putting into Malena today.”

MORE NEWS: MISSING: Kyrin Carter, 12, Has Autism, Last Seen At Best Western In Hammond, Indiana

This is the first time this procedure has been performed on a tiger in North America.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff