07:00 AM

Advances in medicine and technology mean amputees get a new lease on life

NY1 health reporter Erin Billups reports on a new technique for amputee patients called osseointegration.

She reports that HSS patient David Giaimo underwent 18 surgeries after a Vespa accident to try to save his leg. He had no choice but to amputate after an infection. Yet his residual leg was not fitting well with the traditional prosthetic and caused him pain.

Giaimo found S. Robert Rozbruch, MD, Chief of Limb Lengthening and Complex Reconstruction Service at HSS, who offered a new solution.

"My last amputation prior to David, that was the same way amputation was done 100 years ago. This is the first new development in amputation surgery, that's huge," said Dr. Rozbruch.

Dr. Rozbruch amputated the infected portion of his leg, implanted a 3D printed titanium rod into his femur and then implanted a post to the femur that attaches to the new prosthetic.

Dr. Rozbruch is one of four surgeons in the U.S. approved by the FDA to study this approach.

"It's connected to my bone, so I have a sense of it being attached to me. It's a prosthetic but it's now my leg," said Giaimo. He explains how he's taken his first steps in eleven years that did not cause him pain.

Dr. Rozbruch says he expects this approach to prosthetics to become the new standard, a shift that will alter the lives of many who may be able to avoid a life in a wheelchair.

This segment originally appeared at NY1.com.