Northwell Health, in collaboration with the Plainview, N.Y.-based Composite Prototyping Center (CPC), has made the first 3D-Printed, amphibious, prosthetic leg. The leg, known as “The Fin,” has allowed 33-year-old Marine Corps veteran amputee Dan Lasko to swim again.

“The prosthetic market is characterized by one-size-fits-all solutions,” said Thomas Thornton, senior vice president of Northwell Ventures. “For amputees with a passion for swimming, there was no device out there that was truly amphibious and allowed them to really swim. We made something that didn’t exist and solved a specific problem in a very spectacular way.”

The prosthetic was 3-D printed on a MarkForged printer with carbon fiber enhanced nylon, a material that allows the prosthetic to have both the strength and the flexibility needed to perform up to par. 3-D printing allows prosthetics, like the swim fin, to be quickly designed and manufactured, making it possible to customize add-ons at a reasonable price. And as CBS’ Long Island affiliate reported last month, using composites for the detachable leg offers a number of advantages – mainly corrosion resistance.

“[It is] a fully patient-specific … swim leg that gives support and propulsion,” said Todd Goldstein, of Northwell Health. “Being that it’s a lot of plastics and carbon fiber, you don’t have any corrosion. This actual swim leg here — a lot of the hardware is 25 years old. It’s been in and out of the Atlantic Ocean. Not a lick of corrosion.”

An estimated 1.9 million people have lost a limb nationwide, a number that is expected to double by 2050, mostly as a result of diabetes, according to the Amputee Coalition of America, a nonprofit organization devoted to advocacy and education. Northwell hopes that fins like the ones for Lasko can be the first step toward helping amputees resume active lifestyles again.