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3D printer saves cancer patient's leg

3D printer saves cancer patient's leg
Photo: 3D printer saves cancer patient's leg
Doctors have used a 3D printer to build a Melbourne man a new heel bone and save him from losing his leg to cancer.

Doctors have used a 3D printer to help save a Victorian man from losing his leg to cancer.

After Len Chandler, 71, was diagnosed with cartilage cancer in April he was referred to St Vincent's Hospital surgeon, Professor Peter Choong, who was developing techniques with 3D printing.

Patients with advanced cancer in the calcaneus often lose the leg below the knee, because it is difficult to replace the heel bone.

A Melbourne team led by Prof Choong used scans of his left heel bone to create a 3D mirror image of his right one.

"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," Prof Choong told News Limited.

Melbourne-based implant manufacturer Anatomics was brought in and created a mirror-image design to help in the creation of a new heel.

The CSIRO used its state-of-the-art Arcam 3D printer to build the implant from titanium.

Following the world-first procedure in July, the Rutherglen builder is expected to be off crutches by Christmas.

Copy AAP 2014.

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