A Brisbane medical team has successfully transplanted the world’s 3D-printed tibia – and the very grateful recipient is turning his dreams of walking down the aisle into a reality.
Reuben Lichter underwent five operations at the Princess Alexandra Hospital to replace his shinbone, caused by an infection known as tibial osteomyelitis, ABC reports.
With 36cm of his tibia bone essentially destroyed by the condition, doctors told the 27-year-old he was facing amputation if he didn’t attempt the experimental treatment.
"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," Reuben said.
"I was like, 'bang, let's do it'."
Built in Singapore, the 3D-printed model was wrapped in leg tissues and blood tissue from both of his legs.
And while there’s an 18-month recovery until Reuben can walk again, he now hopes to be able to walk fiancée Caity down the aisle at their wedding.