Jane describes her knee replacement and patella surgery as a true gift and life changing after 37 years of considerable knee pain

A traffic accident many years ago left Jane without a patella in her knee and led her to develop knee arthritis and pain

Jane had a serious road traffic accident 38 years ago which resulted in her having a patellectomy (a surgical procedure to remove the kneecap). After this operation she underwent two years of daily physio in order to learn to walk again, and she worked hard to get back her life. Following this she was able to regularly swim, cycle and enjoy aerobics. She always had to adapt how she did things. For example, she couldn’t brake when going downhill, so would have to side-step down a mountain.

Jane was told at the time of her accident that she would one day need a knee replacement and around her mid-forties her knee started to ache more when under pressure and it became extremely arthritic.

By the age of 58 (Jane is 62 now), she could feel that the inside of her right knee was bone on bone, and she anticipated that a knee replacement would be required before too long.

In summer 2020, Jane she was coming up from the cellar in her home when her knee twanged and dislocated and she struggled to get it back into place. She had been getting more knee pain than usual for a few months prior to this, and she knew she needed help.

Jane was really keen to find a cutting-edge surgeon as she knew her knee problems were complicated. She discovered Professor Wilson online and was reassured by his experience and patient feedback. She saw the innovations he’d made which had benefitted younger patients and she knew he was the right surgeon for her.

At her initial appointment with Professor Wilson he reviewed her CT scan and later a new MRI scan. He identified that the degeneration to the inside and outside of Jane’s right knee was too significant for an osteotomy and Jane would need a total knee replacement. A new patella (kneecap) would be refashioned during the same operation from the discarded bone fragments taken during the knee replacement. Professor Wilson set up a video consultation with his colleague Dr Kristian Kley who has expertise in this type of knee grafting and would be carrying out the surgery with Professor Wilson.

Jane explains how she felt prior to the operation: “I was slightly uneasy about having a new kneecap as I had got by without one for so long. On the morning of the operation Professor Wilson totally reassured me and I’m so pleased I put my trust in him and Dr Kley.”

After the surgery, Jane spent two nights in hospital and seven nights at the Clavadel, a rehabilitation and recuperation centre and her recovery has gone extremely well. She says: “The result has been fantastic for me and straight away I could lift my leg straight in front of me, just like a normal person with no lag as there was before.” 

Jane continues: “Now, 18 days after the operation, I’m off painkillers, I cut them down a week ago. I’ve been icing religiously; the bruising has gone. I can do my rehab exercises happily, walking around house without sticks and my centre of gravity and balance have improved. I had forgotten that people walk with legs close together, previously my leg was very bowed, but I now walk much more normally. My knee flexion is almost 110 degrees.”

Her advice for patients considering similar surgery or with a knee problem: “Don’t give up and think that’s your lot. Look for a skilled team, push the boundaries and believe that you’re going to come through it well. Be diligent about exercises; icing and your rehab. plan. Concentrate on flexion and straightening your leg, the rest will come in time. Find yourself a good physio who appreciates the work that the surgeon has done.”

Jane summarises: “I haven’t looked back; the operation has been life changing. I think Professor Wilson and Dr Kley are a truly amazing team who have transformed my life in the last 19 days. I am lost for words. From start to finish Professor Wilson handled everything really well from the consultation, his admin back up team and of course the surgery.”

She continues: “I’ve been given an amazing opportunity by Professor Wilson and his surgical team. Thanks to their pioneering clinical and surgical skills I have been able to change my life for the better, both physically and mentally. This is a true gift after 38 years of considerable pain and hassle.”

Professor Wilson concludes: “Jane’s was a very interesting case. Jane’s new knee and patella have now balanced her extensor mechanism and improved the lever-arm effect and has given her a very nice early result.  She is delighted, as are we.”

November 2020