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'Bionic leg' to be a New Zealand first

SALLY KIDSON
Last updated 14:03 04/04/2012
Phil Coulson

INSIDE LOOK: An X-ray of the type of implant amputee Phil Coulson will be getting as part of his new 'bionic leg'.

Phil Coulson
COLIN SMITH/Fairfax NZ
RECOVERING: 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.

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Amputee Phil Coulson is recovering in Nelson before a second operation that 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.

A second operation on May 2 will see his leg reopened 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 into it.

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

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

The first operation went well, he said. 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 designed the revolutionary implant was paying for it in exchange for Coulson helping it to raise the profile of the product in the Asia-Pacific region.

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

Coulson said 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.

Click here for more information on the integral leg prosthesis.

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- The Nelson Mail

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