In 2020, an accident caused 30-year-old Ellen to shatter her fibula head (top of calf bone) and rupture her posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), which connects the thigh bone to the back of the shin bone. The bone healed naturally, and after months of wearing a PCL brace and intense physio, she achieved a good flexibility and mobility. However, her right leg remained unstable, and she displayed a significant posterior subluxation (partial dislocation) between the shin bone and knee. Her symptoms were most evident when attempting certain movements, such as when performing lunges and when walking downstairs she felt very wobbly and needed to hold on to the banister. Normal exercise and running were impossible, and the posterior shin/knee dislocation was clear to see when she was standing.
Even though Ellen had achieved a high level of mobility, she hyper-aware of her injury and because she knew her leg was unstable and could easily be injured again, her confidence in using it suffered. She became nervous in public places and avoided crowds and busy parks in case she was bumped into. Fortunately, lockdown meant her normal travel across London was curtailed, so she was able to work from home and avoid the physical and mental strain those journeys would have put on her.
Having met Mr Raghbir Khakha when he successfully treated her initial injury, she was very happy to entrust him with the PCL reconstruction surgery she needed. She was, nevertheless, fearful when going into surgery and expected to be in significant pain and be bed bound for weeks if not months and to have to wear her PCL brace again post-operatively.
However, her fears proved unfounded. Mr Khakha explained fully what her LARS PCL reconstruction surgery would involve. LARS (Ligament Advanced Reinforcement System) is where an artificial ligament is used as a synthetic PCL. He also took the time to reassure her prior to surgery, which was performed quickly, efficiently and without pain. Ellen was able to walk out of the hospital, putting her full weight on her right leg, less than 24 hours after surgery, with no brace and only crutches for support. Just a few days later she was only using one crutch and able to bend her knee to 90 degrees. Within two weeks she was walking around the house almost normally and back to everyday activities such as housework and cooking. She only had minimal swelling and bruising, and found the Physiolab (a portable cryotherapy device), which Mr Khakha had recommended, to be incredibly helpful with her rehabilitation.
Three weeks after surgery, she is now doing squats and one-legged bridges as part of her physiotherapy. She has some very slight swelling and pain if she overdoes her exercise, but this can be easily controlled with icing and medication, and she can almost bend her leg normally. Scarring is minimal, and crucially, her knee feels stable and more robust, and she has so much more confidence in it.
Although Ellen didn’t consider her surgery to be absolutely essential and she was concerned about the risks and that it might hinder her recovery, she says: “Having surgery was absolutely the best decision I have made. The whole experience was a lot better than I expected and I needn’t have been so worried. I am thrilled with the results.”
She describes Mr Khakha as a compassionate, considerate, and “excellent” consultant, who she trusts wholeheartedly and was a pleasure to deal with. She concludes by saying: “Even after my initial injury last year when I had problems with nerve damage and stiffness, I felt supported, positive and guided at every turn. As soon as we started discussing surgery and his partnership with Professor Wilson, it was abundantly clear I was in the hands of true experts who are leaders in their field. I feel very lucky to have been in the care of them both and couldn’t recommend them more.”
Mr Khakha summarises: “Ellen is doing really well following her LARS PCL reconstruction. She is absolutely delighted with the outcome of her procedure. She has been working hard on her range of movement and she has already got good quad control with flexion beyond 120°. She is certainly moving in the right direction and she is pleased with the way things are going.”
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