5th September, 2011
An on-going knee problem made worse by a jet ski accident two years ago left Sutton man Anwar Sears unable to properly bend, straighten or use his leg without it causing pain and locking – but a revolutionary new cartilage-bone scaffold implant procedure, introduced to the region by orthopaedic and sports surgeon Ashvin Pimpalnerkar, has put him back on the road to recovery. The procedure is very new to the UK, with only a handful of specialists having performed or offering it, and involves the implantation of a synthetic device which mimics the behaviour and biology of articular cartilage.
Anwar had been suffering with his knee problems and was unable to work properly in his job as a swimming pool tiler. After an MRI scan showed that there was a large chunk of bone and cartilage missing at the bottom of his femur. With his wife pregnant and the prospect of the downtime, he was delighted to hear about the new treatment in the UK that utilises a synthetic alternative to the traditional bone and cartilage grafting techniques – facilitating reduced downtime – offered at Spire Little Aston Hospital where specialist Mr Pimpalnerkar is based.
“I’d been suffering for years with knee problems but the real problems began after a jet ski accident two years ago where I damaged it further. The gap where I had missing cartilage and bone was causing pain, swelling and stiffness when I used my leg and therefore I felt it was restricting my mobility hugely and affecting my quality of life at home as well as outdoors. The option of the traditional cartilage regeneration operation was a multi-stage process and as my wife was pregnant I didn’t think it was a viable option. When Mr Pimpalnerkar explained about this new technique, I was keen to try it, as it was a one-step operation.”
The procedure involves the implanting of a synthetic cartilage ‘scaffolding’ – completely negating the lengthier process of bone grafting, followed by cartilage harvesting and grafting.
Mr Pimpalnerkar, an orthopaedic surgeon based at Spire Little Aston Hospital, explained:
“Orthopaedic surgery is in growing demand since defects and problems are occurring in people earlier on in life – which can be either as a result of high-impact exercise, carrying excess weight or simply wear and tear. This innovative new procedure of implanting a synthetic cartilage dramatically reduces downtime involved in this type of surgery as it is a single stage process, replacing a multi-stage process. Anwar was the first person I have operated on in the Midlands and there are very few UK practitioners offering this type of surgery as it’s very new. It’s been used to good effect in Europe, particularly in Italy. I think it’s a great option.”
“The improvement is significant and I can now do all of the things I used to and don’t struggle at work. I’m still receiving physio as it isn’t 100 per cent back to normal but I’m impressed with the results so far, and it can only get better.”