Pioneering knee surgery for ex-footballer

Six patients, who ten years ago would have spent up to ten days in hospital for a partial knee replacement, have undergone their surgery and been discharged within 23 hours.

This new revolutionary way of providing certain orthopaedic procedures is being trialled by our consultant orthopaedic surgeons.

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Mark Blyth is leading the way on offering partial knee replacements to patients affected by arthritis in a single joint, are in good health and have good social support on a day case basis.

Mr Blyth said: “There is good evidence that patients recovery better at home following knee replacement surgery.

“Advances in anaesthesia over the last few years have improved pain relief following surgery to such an extent that we’re now in a position to send patients home much earlier than in the past.

“Looking forward, the same approach is possible for total knee and hip replacements.”

One of the patients who has undergone his partial knee replacement under Mr Blyth and was home the following morning is David Halcrow.

As a former footballer who took on the likes of Gordon Strachan and Alex McLeish, David (59) knows all about tackling a tough challenge.

However, arthritis in his left knee forced the former Bannockburn High School PE teacher to retire from his job of 36 years.

Having played professional football for Brechin City, played in volleyball tournaments and turned out on the cricket field, David found himself in the alien situation of not being able to participate in any sports for the first time.

David was referred to Dr Blyth at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and was one of only 20 patients in a trial group to have a spring fitted in his knee to absorb around 30% of the weight burden placed on the knee.

Two months ago year he was offered the opportunity to have a partial knee replacement, but with one major selling point: he’d be in and out of hospital within 23 hours.

David said: “Sport has always played a huge role in my life and it was very difficult not being able to do any for three years due to the arthritis. I took up fly-fishing which has been great, but I’m now looking forward to taking up cycling with my wife and being able to take the dog out walks again.

“When I told people I’d be getting a partial knee replacement and be in hospital for less than a day everyone told me I was wrong.

“I had the spring removed and then five weeks later went in to New Stobhill Hospital on a Wednesday and was back out with a new knee by the lunchtime the following day.

“The operation was done at 9am; I was back in my room by 11.30am; saw the physio that afternoon; and was up and on my feet within an hour.

“I didn’t feel any pain whatsoever. I had a canula fitted to the knee which released anaesthetic into the knee at regulated intervals for 12 hours. The anaesthetist fed the line through my thigh and we watched its progress as he fed it down to my knee. After the 12 hours the line was simply unclipped and taken out.

“It made a huge difference mentally knowing I’d be in and out in less than a day. All the staff were great from Dr Blyth, his PA and the anaesthetist to the staff in the Glasgow Royal and New Stobhill. They were all first class, but it feels so much better being able to recover at home rather than spend a week in hospital.

“I’d absolutely recommend the procedure without hesitation. The knee feels so much better and being able to recuperate at home so soon is brilliant. I’m doing the exercises the physio gave me daily and looking forward to get back out walking the dog.”