Australian doctors make world’s first heel replacement with 3D printer

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MELBOURNE: Doctors in Australia used 3D printer in a world-first procedure to replace a patient’s cancer- eaten heel with a man-made titanium one, local media reported.

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A 71-year-old man whose right foot suffered from cancer thought the only option he face would be amputation but after a successful surgery in Victoria, now he can stand on his own feet again.

A team led by Profesor Peter Choong from St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne scanned the patient’s left foot and created a 3D image of it, which was then used to build a replica of the right heel with titanium.

Melbourne-based biotech company Anatomics and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) both scrubbed in to the joint effort in 3D printing a new heel bone.

“Science advances have allowed us to consider 3D printing of bones and we were able to get information from Len’s foot and use that to tell the computers precisely how big his foot is, and reproduce that using the new 3D technology,” Dr Choong said.

The procedure of replace man’s heel bone part with 3D print technology was the very first case in the world.

Dr Choong said he had been working in this field for years and had dreamed of this kind of operation for years.

“It’s very exciting. This is a great example of how advances in science and technology and research can be directed toward meeting a patient’s needs,” he said. PNA

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  1. My son is a Diabetic and is in the process of “maybe”,having a heel replaced and we had spoke of this Dr. who i am thinking could be yourself. My son is 26 years of age, ostiomelitus is on the bone , the bone is mushy, in his heel, MRI showed the infection on the bone , but the bone is alive, so antibiotic for six weeks, and from there ? If this is something that can be done , is there any kind of insurance company that would be covering such a thing, if need be?