Talus Replacement Saves Feet

BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - A tiny bone that you’ve probably never heard of can make a huge difference in your quality of life. The talus is the part ankle that allows the foot to move in all different directions. High impact injuries like falls, or car crashes can cause the bone to fracture and die. Now, there is a new cutting-edge option for patients.

On August 11th, 2014, Matt Bass drove home late from work and fell asleep behind the wheel.

Bass told Ivanhoe that doctors, “told me I broke both my legs, my right arm and had bleeding of the brain.”

For more than two weeks, Bass was in a coma. As his body began to heal, doctors discovered one of the worst injuries was to his ankle.

“They said I shattered it into 30-odd pieces,” Bass detailed.

Mark Myerson, M.D., the Director for the Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland said “People are living through accidents that previously were fatal, and their feet are getting crushed on the floorboard.”

In Bass’ case, doctors needed to remove his talus bone because it was dead and crumbling.

“You’re left with a massive hole,” Dr. Myerson told Ivanhoe.

In the past, doctors would have fused the ankle, leaving Bass unable to move his foot. But now Dr. Myerson is using a first-of-a-kind procedure.

“It builds a whole new ankle,” said Dr. Myerson.

Using a patient’s normal ankle as a model, biomedical engineers construct a cobalt and chrome prosthesis, then reverse it so it will replace the missing talus.

Bass is back on his feet, and ready to start a new chapter in his life.

“Still have aches and pains when I’m on it a lot, but I’m able to stay on it, which before wasn’t an option,” explained Bass.

Dr. Myerson said, “This is a life-changing experience.”

Dr. Myerson said the medical company, 4Web Medical, uses 3-D printing technology to get an exact fit. He has successfully used the talus replacement in eight patients over the past year.

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