A PIONEERING knee operation for arthritis sufferers can halve recovery times. And it enables more natural movement immediately after surgery.
The technique involves replacing only the areas of cartilage affected by the disease and avoids removal of the ligaments.
Professor David Barrett, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Southampton General Hospital, was the first in the UK to perform the procedure.
He said that with more and more people in their 40s and 50s needing treatment the new technique would extend the life span of the knee. It would allow patients to make a quick return to daily and sporting activities, with the option of total replacement if required later.
The technique is called bicompartmental knee resurfacing. The procedure, which is performed under general anaesthetic and takes about an hour, sees patients leave hospital after three days – less than half the time it takes after total replacement.
More than 80,000 knee replacements are carried out in England and Wales each year. While the majority of patients are over 65, the biggest increase has been in people in their 40s and 50s.
In the UK around 10 million people have arthritis. The condition affects people of all ages, including children, and there are many different types of arthritis which cause a wide range of symptoms.
BY Jo Willey
Back to press