'Bionic leg' to be a New Zealand first

Last updated 12:30 04/04/2012

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Amputee Phil Coulson is recovering in Nelson ahead of a second operation next month which will see him receive the first "bionic leg" in New Zealand.

The Nelson father of three had his first operation in Sydney on March 21. Surgeons opened his stump and implanted a metal stem directly into his femur of his amputated leg.

A second operation on May 2 will see his leg re-opened and another part, called an adapter, connected to the metal stem in the femur. The adapter leads out of the stump and the knee and leg components of the artificial leg fit directly to it.

The operation is only done in Sydney and Germany and is available for amputees with above-the-knee amputations.

Mr Coulson's right leg was amputated above the knee after a motorcycle accident near Dovedale in October 2010.

Mr Coulson said the first operation went well. He was awake for the operation after electing to have an epidural. He will be on crutches until May 2.

He was looking forward to the next operation and the long-term benefit of having the revolutionary implant, including having more energy.

The company that had designed the revolutionary implant was paying for it in exchange for Mr Coulson helping them raise the profile of the product in Asia Pacific.

He was paying for the two operations himself at a personal cost of $50,000.

He wanted to raise the profile of the operation so other amputees became aware of it, and ultimately hoped a surgeon in New Zealand would be able to perform the operation.

For more information on the integral leg prosthesis, see orthodynamics.com.au.

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- The Nelson Mail

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