3D printer helps Iowa man walk again

Courtesy: NBC News
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DES MOINES, Iowa (NBC) -- New technology has given a man his life back after an old ankle injury came back to haunt him.

Shaka Robinson learned to live with pain after an accident 20 years ago.

"I fell out of a car, and separated my foot from my tibia," Robinson explains.

Back then, doctors reconstructed his ankle with pins. He went about his life without any big problems until he moved to Iowa this summer.

"I thought I had twisted it in my yard doing yard work," he recalls.

It became inflamed and infected, so he came to Broadlawns Medical Center. He learned the talus bone in his ankle was dead and had to be removed.

"The nice thing is, two years ago your option would have been to go in and tear out that bone and pack this whole thing of just a bone graft and fuse up your whole rear foot and ankle and none of it would have ever moved again," says podiatrist Dr. Mica Murdoch.

Dr. Murdoch had a new option.

"I first heard about it a year ago. It hadn't been out much longer than that. Not very many people are doing it," he says.

In January, Dr. Murdoch performed a total ankle replacement with a talus bone made from a 3D printer.