Len Chandler of Melbourne, Australia had a cancerous tumor in his left calcaneus and was facing a below-the-knee amputation because of the difficulty entailed in achieving a functional limb salvage procedure. Surgeon Peter Choong teamed with an implant manufacturer and Australia’s national science agency to create an exact titanium replica of the involved bone. The 3D-printed bone had to be both porous, to allow tissue in growth, and ultra-smooth so that it could articulate with hind and midfoot joints, and allow smooth tendon gliding.
After this ground-breaking surgery in July, Chandler is now able to carry more than half his body weight on that foot. The prognosis is for Chandler to be off crutches by the end of 2014. Click here to read the full story. Also, read the related OrthoBuzz article about the first 3D-printed cervical disc implanted in a minor.