Active ex-rower Deborah, 56
Consultant: Prof Adrian Wilson
Knee osteotomy (realignment) surgery
A 56-year old patient is now living pain free thanks to an osteotomy carried out by Prof Wilson
Deborah, 56, has always enjoyed pursuing an active lifestyle. She had been a competitive rower in her twenties, and later enjoyed spending her free time cycling or on the water. She sustained a knee injury following a climbing accident about twenty years ago and had a meniscus repair, but her knee had never been the same since the injury.
Deborah’s knee pain got gradually worse. About a year ago, her knee was so painful that she could barely stand when she first woke up couldn’t put any weight on her left leg. The pain prevented her from enjoying the active lifestyle she loved pursuing and she knew that she needed a solution.
Deborah was referred to a knee specialist who explained the severity of her knee problems to her and recommended that a knee osteotomy might be the best solution for her case. Because the specialist did not have the experience to carry out this operation, Deborah was referred to Professor Adrian Wilson.
She said: “Before I met Prof. Wilson I was terrified. I’d read about osteotomies online and was concerned about the recovery time I might be faced with. My advice to other patients is talk to Professor Wilson. He was honest about what was and was not possible and I was well informed about what we were trying to achieve as well as any problems. Once I’d had my first consultation it all felt more manageable.”
When Deborah met with Professor Wilson, he talked to her about the process of having an osteotomy, as well as the process of recovery and rehabilitation. The operation went well and just two days after the operation, Deborah was doing stairs with the hospital physiotherapist. Five and a half weeks post-operation, she is now walking with one crutch, and has even taken some unaided steps. She was particularly happy to have been able to straighten her leg fully, something she hadn’t been able to do before surgery and didn’t expect to be able to do after her osteotomy.
A programme of physiotherapy has aided Deborah’s recovery and her four week X-ray showed that she is almost healed – a fantastic result. She is ecstatic with her progress and said “I think Professor Wilson is a miracle worker! My scar is minimal and although I know an osteotomy is a major surgery, it really hasn’t felt that way. My post-operative pain was extremely well managed and under Prof. Wilson’s care my recovery time has been much faster than expected.”
Professor Wilson talks through Deborah's pre and post osteotomy X-rays.
Deborah updates her story in June 2020 after having had her plates removed from her knee:
“It’s not overstating it to say that the knee osteotomy changed my life, almost without realising it I had gradually limited my range of activities – things I had participated in and enjoyed for years, in order to accommodate my knee pain.
I can now do all the things I had stopped doing – I’m back to riding my bike, walking long distances – which means I can wild swim again as that usually involves walking in to a location. I can paddle board again because I can now move more easily from sitting to standing and actually stand for long periods.
The operation to remove the plates was minor and I just stayed in overnight.
I minimised walking for a week after as instructed, but after that it was very quick. I barely used crutches as I could weight bear almost immediately.
I was happy with my knee post osteotomy before, but the plate removal has moved recovery to another level, I ride a mountain bike and that needs not just leg strength but stability in all directions due to riding over rough terrain and confidence in my ability to do that has returned and I’m back to completing routes that I haven’t done for around five years.
Osteotomy worked for me, it has literally given me my life back. I was nervous about the procedure and the recovery time but that turned out to be misplaced and both were easier than I had worried about.
It’s not exaggerating to say I nearly cried with relief at my first appointment to learn there was a solution to my gradually degrading quality of life due to my knee pain and not that I should just learn to accept a life less actively lived because I was the other side of fifty. Throughout, Professor Wilson and the whole team have been unfailingly kind and professional, from the people that book my appointments and onwards.”
Professor Wilson said “I’m delighted with the outcome of Deborah’s operation and her recovery. Her pain has now completely gone and she was amazed to be able to bend and fully straighten her knee. This is a great result as it means there will be much less effort involved in walking. I am so pleased to see such a fantastic result both radiologically as well as clinically for Deborah.”