Soldier Shilo sustained a complicated injury during the intense battle in Gaza, resulting in a complete shattering of his knee. Hadassah doctors successfully reconstructed the knee surgically using a 3D printer and a bone taken from his pelvis.
Shilo, a soldier in the Givati Brigade and a cadet in the Officers’ School, was sent to the Gaza envelope when the war broke out on October 7. Shilo recalled, “We spent Shabbat at the base, and early Saturday morning, we were whisked to the Gaza envelope communities. Like everyone else, we didn’t realize the magnitude of the incident at first, with many unclear issues.”
After about two weeks of fighting in the Gaza envelope communities and a month of training, the soldiers entered the Gaza Strip. There, they cleared houses and conducted numerous searches. Shilo described the challenging fighting in the crowded Jabaliya neighbourhood, where a large civilian population was mixed in with terrorists.
Recounting a critical moment during a mission, Shilo narrated, “I tried to open the door and felt a slight resistance. I identified a barrel making it difficult to open the door. I asked the commander for permission to shoot, and I started firing into the room. Immediately, they fired back at us.” Shilo’s partner was wounded, and during the retreat, Shilo was shot in the leg, ending up alone in the alley as terrorists continued firing at him.
After successfully rescuing himself, with his comrades providing covering fire, he was swiftly evacuated by helicopter to Hadassah Medical Center. “Throughout the helicopter ride, I remained conscious. The pain in my leg was excruciating, and I feared I might lose it, but I felt a comforting presence as if someone were holding my hand. My friends stayed by my side until I arrived at the hospital.”
Shilo’s injury was severe, and there was genuine concern about its functionality. A bullet had penetrated his leg, shattering his knee and, on arriving at Hadassah Ein Kerem’s Orthopedic Trauma Unit, he immediately received treatment and underwent surgery.
Utilising a 3D printer from Stratasys, the surgeons planned and constructed an accurate model of his shattered knee based on the unaffected second knee.
Shilo with Prof. Yoram Weil
Prof. Yoram Weil, Director of the Orthopedic Trauma Unit at Hadassah Ein Kerem, described the complex fracture and the challenges it presented.
“The surgery was performed with great precision and was highly successful. After assembling the model, we identified a missing piece in the upper bone. Using the customized three-dimensional template we created, we extracted a bone from the pelvis to fill the gap and achieve proper alignment for optimal fracture healing. The model helped us restore the fracture and achieve a very high level of accuracy and planning. Shilo is already using his knee well. He is expected to undergo further surgery, and in a few months, the fracture will heal, allowing him to fully recover.”
Shilo, who has already begun rehabilitation and physical therapy in the orthopedic department at Hadassah, expressed optimism about his progress. He shared, “I initially feared losing my leg, but fortunately, the situation has taken a completely different turn, and my leg is already healing. I consider myself fortunate to have been placed in the hands of a skilled medical team that specializes in bone reconstruction and regeneration. It’s incredible to think that I could have ended up without a knee or with a permanently broken bone. Now, my focus is on completing the remaining surgeries and fully recovering. That’s definitely what lies ahead for me.”
More information about Hadassah Hospital and their work can be found here: https://www.hadassahaustralia.org/.