Signature™ knee replacement

Tina Bird, 62, had a knee replacement operation by Mr Iain Lennox at Spire Hartswood Hospital and was in and out of hospital within 24 hours. Here she tells her story…

I have a phobia of hospitals, which stems from childhood. I went into hospital for an eye operation when I was 4 years old, was told I wouldn’t be left there, and was promptly left in a darkened ward with old ladies for five days. Of course, I detested it. So automatically now, a hospital is a no-go area for me… even a lovely private hospital.

"Coming out within 24 hours after such a big operation wouldn’t be right for everyone, but it was right for me!"
Tina Bird, 62

I have osteoarthritis in my knee and was told years ago that I’d have to have an operation. I couldn’t walk properly and when I fell off a bike and smashed my knee, which made it worse; that’s what finally convinced me I’d better have the op. I still stalled for a year because my son was getting married.

Eventually, I got myself hyped up enough to go in for the procedure. Mr Lennox had hoped to fix the knee with something called Tru-Fix™ [titanium alloy interlocking nailing system] but, when he opened me up, the knee was too far gone; it wouldn’t have worked. He told me I’d need to have a full knee replacement. I stalled for another year!

Eventually, though, I went in. I knew Mr Lennox fairly well as he’d done both my hip replacements previously, which made it easier. He’s a very nice, very funny guy.

It wasn’t actually planned that I would be out within 24 hours; Mr Lennox knew I wanted to get out as quickly as possible. I knew I’d be happier at home and I was determined to do it.

I had to prove I could go up and down stairs before I left the hospital and Mr Lennox was strict with me about aftercare. When they said, “You can go!” I thought, “Yeah, let me go!” It was hard to move my leg but I had a pair of crutches. He told me I had to go to physio on Tuesday (my operation was on Thursday) but I was told to get moving as soon as I got home as well.

On Tuesday, the physio got me walking round and exercising. She was amazed at my recovery. I pushed myself quite hard and, I must admit, it was a bit painful at first. I was soon back on an exercise bike and out Christmas shopping, and as soon as I could drive myself to physio – which I did, after four weeks – that was great.

Coming out of hospital within 24 hours after such a big operation wouldn’t be right for everyone, but it was right for me. You do need support and back-up to help you immediately afterwards, because you can’t do much for yourself. It’s not all a bed of roses but, fortunately, my husband helped me.

If I was to do it again, I’d have it done in spring or summer because you could just lie around in the sun, relax and enjoy the recovery much more.

My choice was to get in in the morning and get out in the afternoon!

The surgeon's view:
Mr Iain Lennox, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Tina had osteoarthritis in her knee and needed to have a full replacement. Due to her fear of hospitals she wanted to be discharged as soon as it was safe to do so. To achieve such a short stay after a major operation there are some essential requirements. She would need a custom fit implant, good surgical technique, good post-operative care and a lot of self-motivation to follow a regime of rest and regular physiotherapy as would have taken place if she had stayed longer in hospital.

The personalised Signature™ knee procedure involves taking an MRI scan before surgery which gave me very detailed images of Tina's knee anatomy. An exact 3D model of Tina’s knee was then created to help me decide the size and positioning of the implant. Surgery using a personalised prosthesis requires smaller incisions than traditional knee replacement surgery and this, in turn, means a faster recovery - so it was well suited to Tina. Using the Signature™ knee may also reduce or delay the need for surgery again in the future which is clearly a bonus for a hospital-phobic patient.

Generally, my knee replacement patients are dressed and on their feet the day after surgery, and discharged within two to three days of their operation. Because of Tina’s phobia we worked to discharge her within 24 hours, as soon as it was safe to do so, with comprehensive aftercare instructions. 

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Mr Iain Lennox

Tina's personalised knee replacement was performed by Mr Iain Lennox using the Signature™ knee replacement system.
Read more about Mr Lennox on his consultant profile.


Tina Bird leaves Spire Hartswood Hospital less than 24 hours after knee replacement surgery, supported by physiotherapist Fiona Perry, consultant orthopaedic surgeon Iain Lennox and Ward Team Leader Jackie Feeley

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