Thanks to ABC Down Under we can bring you this most amazing story of limb saving surgery.
The first person to have a 3D-printed tibia transplanted into his leg says he cannot wait to put it to good use by walking his fiancee down the aisle.
According to Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH), Reuben Lichter had become the first person in the world to have a 3D-printed tibia or shinbone transplanted into his leg.
It has taken five operations over the past six months — the final one lasting 14 hours.
The 27-year-old developed spontaneous onset of tibial osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone, which resulted in the majority of his tibia – 36cm – being destroyed.
Normally, the only option is an above-knee amputation.
“Doctors came up to me and said there are two options — you can get amputated above the knee or we can try this experimental stuff that may or may not work,” Mr Lichter said.
“I was like, ‘bang, let’s do it’.”
Mr Lichter said his dream now is to walk his fiancee Caity down the aisle.
But he will have to wait a while. Doctors say it will be at least 18 months before he can walk again.
Mr Lichter said his young son William would be walking before he does, but he is set to take his recovery one step at a time.
The 3D-printed model was manufactured in Singapore.
It is wrapped in biological tissue which then engineers the new bone.
Health Minister Cameron Dick said it was like scaffolding that supported the biological tissue.
“That then grows effectively a new bone in your leg and this is the first time this has been done,” Mr Dick said.
“We’re not out of the woods yet, there’s a lot of recovery to go through but [Reuben] is very positive, he’s very happy the pain has disappeared and the infection has now gone and he’s living very positively with the future.”
This is such an amazing story and one that we hope can be replicated around the world as 3D Technology begins to evolve further into the world of medical science.
We wish Reuben all the very best for a good recovery.
#3dmedical #3dtechnology #3dtibia