Tiny toggle that can put the bounce back into your knees

June 2011

Wayne Stansfield is an adrenaline junkie from Warrington who loves skiing, racing cars, motocross biking and heli-skiing. Last January, whilst skiing in Switzerland, he hit a lump of ice and as he landed from the fall he twisted his left knee. It soon became apparent that he could not put any weight on the leg and was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital.

On Wayne's return to the UK he went to see his GP who immediately referred him to Hon. Professor Mike McNicholas, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Spire Cheshire Hospital. After the initial consultation and an MRI scan, Mr McNicholas confirmed that Wayne had torn his anterior cruciate ligament as well as two other ligaments down the side of his knee.

Mr McNicholas then explained that he could do a new operation using hamstrings (muscles which help the knee to bend) to repair the anterior cruciate ligament, fixing them into place with a tiny toggle like button. Mr McNicholas then predicted that he could be back playing sport within six months.

Just four days later, Wayne went ahead with the operation. Immediately after the operation Wayne felt no pain because local anaesthetic had been injected into his knee. His left leg was then strapped into a passive exercise machine which continually bent and straightened his knee to stop it stiffening.

Thirteen weeks later he could walk without crutches and four months later he could go jogging again. Wayne said "I can now push myself to the limit again, and I am enjoying beating people half my age"

Mr Mike McNicholas said " The operation takes about 40 minutes under general anaesthetic.  I strip away muscle tissue from the hamstrings, then double them over to make them stronger. I then feed them through a loop on the toggle. In the knee, a new blood supply will grow naturally to keep the hamstring graft healthy.

Then I drill a tiny hole into the back of the thigh bone, and one into the front of the shin bone — I thread one end of the hamstring graft through the front of the shin bone and the other into the thigh bone. I then turn the toggle sideways at the back of the thigh bone so it forms an anchor.

The graft crosses diagonally with the ligament at the back of the knee, just like the anterior cruciate ligament. I’m delighted Wayne is now enjoying skiing on his two reconstructed knees"

Click here to read the full article that appeared in the Daily Mail or click here to visit the website of Hon. Professor Mike McNicholas and read more about anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries


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