Sara Morales was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer called osteosarcoma not just once, but twice. The first time, the tumor was growing in her right knee. After undergoing cancer treatment, a knee replacement, and rehabilitation, she soon found out she had a new growth, this time in her pelvis. Her doctors—ortho-oncologist Timothy Rapp, MD, and plastic surgeon Pierre Saadeh, MD—realized that traditional surgery to remove the deadly tumor could leave Morales, an otherwise healthy 34-year-old, unable to walk after surgery, since the pelvis bears so much body weight. Instead, the doctors turned to three-dimensional technology.
This technology allowed the surgeons to create a customized, three-dimensional map of Morales’s pelvic bone and surrounding tissue, limiting potential damage. They created cutting guides to perfect reconstruction of the bone—using her fibula to replace the void in her pelvis. “You get precision here that’s unparalleled,” Dr. Saadeh tells the New York Daily News. Just six months later, Morales was walking again.