HEALTH

Australian Man Receives First-Ever 3D-Printed Shinbone

The breakthrough surgery took place in Brisbane.

09/09/2017 9:18 AM AEST | Updated 09/09/2017 9:18 AM AEST
Channel 7/Facebook
Reuben Lichter has undergone world-first leg surgery.

A young Queensland father has become the first person in the world to have a 3-D-printed shinbone transplanted in his leg.

The groundbreaking surgery at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital has given 26-year-old Reuben Lichter the chance to walk again after he faced the prospect of having his leg amputated.

The young dad has became the first person in the world to benefit from a 3-D-printed tibia, or shinbone, transplanted into his leg using his own DNA.

Despite being a human guinea pig, Lichter didn't hesitate at undergoing the highly experimental procedure.

"It's not frightening at all, there's a chance for me to save my leg and give me the chance to do the things I want with my son then I was going to take it," he told Channel Seven.

Two weeks ago, the 3D printed tibia was transplanted into Lichter's right leg, wrapped in leg tissue and blood vessels from both his legs.

The stakes were high for Lichter who was suffering a severe shinbone infection. He reportedly went into hospital for the start of the experimental journey just two days after his son William was born.

The young dad is said to have developed the year-long infection after contracting life-threatening blood poisoning, which led him to take part in the revolutionary surgery.

Dr Michael Wagels led the reconstructive surgery and praised Richter's fighting spirit.

"We ran by him the idea that we had, the fact that it had never been done before, and at every stage he's been willing," he told the ABC.

Lichter and his partner plan to start a candle-making business as he begins walking again.

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