Seaman John is back to playing golf, walking up to 12 miles a day and lifting heavy items without any issues following a knee osteotomy with Mr Raghbir Khakha.

John’s knee pain and tendency for his knee to collapse was impacting his job onboard ship for the Royal Fleet Auxilliary

John had been suffering for a couple of years with his right knee collapsing at irregular periods, which was slowly getting worse. Finally, he realised he had to do something as his knee was giving way every time he went upstairs and even on flat surfaces. At the time, John was working for the Royal Fleet Auxilliary. As he was in constant, albeit bearable pain, he saw a Medical Technician on board the ship he was stationed on to find out what was happening. John says: “I felt I was becoming a hazard at sea reducing my capabilities in emergency situations and I was unable to keep myself as fit as normal due to the inability to put strain on my knee and put weight on it, which could impact on my ENG1 medical (medical fitness certificate to work at sea).” 

They gave John the relevant paperwork to contact the Dreadnought Unit at Guy’s Hospital. This service is dedicated to treating seafarers who are given priority treatment so that they can return to work at sea quickly. John was contacted for an initial assessment within 2 months, where he had X-rays and was then referred to Mr Khakha for consultation.

Mr Khakha recommended an osteotomy for John. In patients whose leg bones are not correctly aligned, an osteotomy restores the normal alignment of the knee joint by correcting the shin or thigh bone, relieving pain and removing pressure on the arthritic or injured area of the knee as a result. A knee osteotomy can usually help to significantly delay the need for a knee replacement in younger patients such as John, and in many instances, remove the need for it altogether.

John explains: “Mr Khakha was extremely professional explaining clearly the procedure he intended to carry out due to my age and profession. I had spoken to a ship mate who had explained they had a similar operation done previously and they were back at sea doing their job without issue, although it took them almost a year to get back to sea. I knew it would be painful and slow recovery but had no option if I was to get back to the way I was, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

Following the procedure John says: “I am pleased to say the procedure went well, it was painful at first but not as bad as I had expected. My recovery was going well, and I was getting myself around on 1 crutch quite quickly. I was in a good position as I had 6 months on full pay from work which took a lot of pressure off me to rush my recovery and get back to work.”

He continues: “I have since retired from the sea and been able to get fit again resulting in losing around 10 kilos since the operation. I can now do the things I could do before I had any issues. I am back to playing golf, walking up to 12 miles a day at work whilst lifting and carrying bags of compost, potatoes etc without any issues. The only problem I have is the position of the metal plate means when I kneel down, I catch the top of it every time which is more irritating than anything else so have opted to have the plate removed.”

He summarises: “I would definitely recommend this procedure to anyone suffering similar symptoms, this has enabled me to do the things I enjoyed before without the pain and struggles I had. When I look back, I never really realised how bad I was until after my recovery. I now know how much of an issue it was. My words of advice – don’t leave it as long as I did, get it sorted quickly. Recovery won’ t be as long. My thanks to Mr Khakha and his team, I am very grateful.”

Mr Khakha concludes: “I’m so pleased John has had a fantastic outcome from his osteotomy. He is doing manual work and would never had contemplated this prior to his surgery. His walking has improved and the soreness in his foot has gone too!”

To book an appointment:

Mr Raghbir Khakha:

May 2021