Dog gets 3D printed prosthetic leg

MEXICO (REUTERS) - After losing both her front legs in an accident three years ago, doctors are fitting Romina with a one-of-a-kind 3D printed prosthetic leg, that will help her get back on her feet.

And as Fernanda Ortiz, one of the specialists treating the Greyhound Whippet at the Universidad Del Valle De Mexico explains, it will enable her joints to move in a way that mimics what natural limbs do.

"When she flexes her elbow, the whole prosthesis flexes and so she has to learn to make this movement in order to learn how to use it. Obviously, we're unable to tell her: 'Flex and walk normally with your elbow,' because she doesn't understand and so it's very important for us - through exercises and indications - to show her how to do it." said Ortiz.

Romina's left limb was rebuilt using titanium plates, which joined the limb but resulted in her losing all movement in that leg.

It took about six months for a multidisciplinary team to design and develop prototypes.

Prosthetics specialist Santiago Garcia says that printing the model in 3D, made adjusting the prototypes easy.

"When we have the 3D model of the patient's limb, we are able to adjust the size of the piece to the patient, in terms of millimetres. It's a limb that is designed especially for this patient. Secondly and this is very important, it allows us to adjust it quickly. If I re-print a piece and I detect it has - for example, two millimetres in size I have to repair, it's much easier for me to print it in a 3D printer than to redesign the mold and the whole traditional process." said Garcia.

Once Romina adjusts to her new limb, the team will prepare a final prosthesis designed in aluminum, which will be covered with skin-like material.