Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Sydney Kendall’s new arm is blue — her old one was pink.

Her new one also comes custom engraved with her initials.

Oh, and it was made using a 3D printer.

(Brett Blume/KMOX)

(Brett Blume/KMOX)

“I didn’t even know there was a 3D printer until they called me,” the 14-year-old says, “and when I saw it I thought it was so cool!”

Now, the 14-year-old can’t wait to show it off during her first day of high school at Visitation Academy on Thursday.

“I’ll look all cool with my arm and everyone’s going to be like ‘Who’s her with the cool arm?!'” Sydney exults.

Standing by Wednesday watching Sydney try out her new arm were Shriners Hospital chief of staff Dr. Perry Schoenecker, Washington University School of Medicine staff scientist Nick Thompson and his team, hospital board chairman Dr. Harvey Mirly, hospital administrator John Gloss and other Shriners and medical staff.

Thompson says the breakthrough of using 3D printer technology also means the cost savings is enormous.

“Right now, to make that prosthetic in parts – just in electronic components and plastic to print – is about $116,” Thompson says.

He says that’s at least one-tenth the cost of a traditional prosthetic limb.

“This is the perfect example of what can be achieved with these two great institutions (Shriners & WUSM) working together,” says Shriners chief of staff Schnoeker. “The hospital is physically where we are supposed to be, and in just the short time since the move, we’ve seen these kind of results, and that’s just the beginning. We expect this new hospital, in its new location, to ultimately set the industry standard in pediatric orthopedics.”

WUSM staff scientist Thompson, who oversaw development of the myoelectric prosthetic along with Shriners surgeons and the hospital’s POPS (Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Service) department, agrees that cooperation between the institutions is key.

“We’re right next to Shriners now,” he says. “When you get a cross-collaboration with that many departments and that many disciplines, it’s amazing and it’s just going to get better.”

On this day, the only thing that matters to Sydney, however, is the ultimate outcome of all that collaboration — her new, full-service arm.

“This one actually looks like a real hand more,” she says. “I think it looks better on me, and when it closes it just closes so much better, and the grip is a lot better.”

Sydney’s come so far from her accident eight years ago, and her mother Beth Kendall is proud of her daughter’s resilience and undaunting enthusiasm.

“She thinks this is neat — ‘I can pave the way to make prosthetic more available for kids,'” she says. “It’s awesome. It’s just been a great opportunity for her.”

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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