A pioneering knee operation for arthritis sufferers has been successfully carried out for the first time in the UK.
Knee replacement surgery involves replacing a damaged, worn or diseased knee with an artificial joint. Traditional knee replacement surgery for arthritis sufferers requires a large incision, the removal of four ligaments and a full replacement of the joint. Crutches are often needed for up to 6 weeks following this procedure.
More than 70,000 knee replacements are carried out each year
But a new technique called bicompartmental knee resurfacing has been developed that halves recovery times and enables natural movement immediately after surgery.
Bicompartmental knee resurfacing involves replacing only the areas of cartilage in the knee damaged by the arthritis. Sections of damaged cartilage are replaced with plastic or alloy metal implants, only affecting the ligament on the inside of the knee and kneecap.
The procedure is performed under general anaesthetic and takes about an hour. Patients can leave the hospital after three days, less than half the time of a total replacement, without the need for crutches.
Professor David Barrett, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Southampton General Hospital, was the first in the UK to perform the procedure. He said:
"While total replacements, which can last for up to 20 years, have always been and remain a suitable option for people over 65, they can wear out much faster in younger, more active patients but, until recently, there was no alternative for them."
"Now, with increasing numbers of people in their 40s and 50s needing treatment, we are able to offer an alternative which extends the lifespan of their knee and allows them to make a quick return to daily and sporting activities - with the option of total replacement further down the line if required."
More than 70,000 knee replacements are carried out in England and Wales each year, and the number is rising.
In the 2011 Dr Foster Hospital Guide, private providers came out top for knee replacement surgery. Top providers included UK Specialist Hospitals, Interhealth Care Services, Ramsay Health Care UK and Spire Healthcare.
If you want access to the latest procedures on your private medical insurance, then compare health insurance policies with full inpatient and outpatient cover.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012