Update - Amputee Reverse Engineers Arm Back

Mark Lesek - Amputee with Attitude

Press Release, 2nd February 2009

The Dynamic Osseointergration

Dynamic Maverick overcomes pain and medical protocol

In December 2003 Mark Lesek sustained horrific injuries in an accident at Triabunna and part of his rehabilitation was to receive a new arm, it has been a challenge, first of all he was told by doctors that he couldnít go back to work, but he had to do so as he owned and managed an Engineering company.

 Mr Lesek has suffered from chronic phantom pain for the past five years and no pills that any doctor had prescribed have ever given relief for the pain. The only thing that ever successfully removed the pain was by wearing an arm which is similar to his own, phantom pain is a complex issue, but it does eliminate the pain by wearing an arm that is similar to his own arm.  Mark was told that the amputation was too high for a prosthetic limb, the reality is that most above elbow amputees give up and donít wear an prosthetic arm because the arms are not that good and are controlled by a duopoly in the world and the medical profession control the prosthetic industry to the therapeutic goods acts, this makes the prosthetic arms extremely expensive and very regulated.   However, it is not illegal to make your own prosthetic arm and Mr Lesek has done this, when the local clinic could not make one suitable he went to Melbourne. The Melbourne clinic fitted him with $80k arm which wasnít suitable, he wore it for about a year and it kept breaking down and no one in Australia was allowed to fix it.  It cost a minimum of $6k to send it away to Germany so Mr Lesek also sort help to get osseointergration, he saw on a program the Discovery Channel with a Mr Eric Axe who has subsequently become a good friend of Mr Lesekís.  Osseointergration is a bone implant similar to a tooth implant, pioneered by Mr Per Branemark in Sweden in the 1960ís.  It is now main stream tooth implant technology and used all around the world, however limb implants are only popular in Europe.  In America it is not accepted in medical protocol, it is not recognised in the USA but there are clinics set up around Europe and there was one set up in the year 2000 in Australia, they did two leg amputees in the year 2000.  Professor Rickard Branemark came out from Sweden to perform the operations; the two recipients have now a good quality of life and walk without a limp, but the program was put on hold through medical fear, lack of confidence and fear of ethical issues and has been on hold for eight years.  Mr Lesek, though his push and drive has succeeded in getting the program restarted because there was a lot of money put to osseointergration that was wasted and no other patients were done, so when Mr Lesek went to Melbourne three years ago he was told he couldnít be done, he was too short and not only that the program was on hold, so Mr Lesek sort help from outside of  Australia and didnít give up,  and had to go against medical opinion and just over two years ago he went to Gottenburg in Sweden to be assessed by the Branemark  team,  the Branemark team concluded that Mr Lesek was the hardest one to be ever done, if they were going to go ahead and do the operation they could only guarantee a 50% chance of success.  Now after a year and two further operations it has been a success and Mr Lesek has again re established confidence to the medical profession. Rickard and Anatove Branemark have opened up their home and hospitality to Mr Lesek after previous operations indicating their openness and genuine consideration for overseas guest patients.  Mr Lesek has also invited the Branemarkís to Australia as they share the common hobby of boating.  Professor Branemark plans to re visit Australia in 2009 to restart the program and to inject confidence into the program.  Mr Lesek has the support of doctors and clinicians at the Caulfield medical Centre in Melbourne.

Mr Lesek is heading back to Gothenburg for a progress check and x-rays to determine the extent of the successful implant, but already Mr Lesek has no pain and he has got his shoulder function back, the Branemark team are in disbelief as are many of the Australian doctors that have feared the idea and not recognised osseointergration.   Osseointergration had already started and Mr Lesekís determination and drive has been the inspiration to reinvigorate the program in Australia.  Mr Lesek has also built an arm because of the duopoly in the world controlled by the medical industry that are far to prohibitive as well as difficult with a high level amputation to mimic a hand or arm, the technology isnít that good, but Mr Lesek has still  refused to give up and has built three arms, one is a computer controlled arm that he is working with a team from the University of Tasmania and he has imported magnesium to make a super light weight body powered prosthesis which he is going to seek interest from overseas to manufacture as this is highly regulated in the prosthetic industry by the therapeutic goods act and the American food and drug administration.  This stifles the initiative of individuals like Mr Lesek that want a better quality of life.

It is not about proving doctors wrong, it is about paving the way for other amputees.

 Mark Lesek


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Mark Lesek
Tasmania 7009

This site was update on 10/03/2009 by Kelvin Markham