There are over 190,000 hip and knee procedures performed every year in the United Kingdom according to the National Joint Registry. While surgery is a daunting experience, if you speak to almost anyone who has had one of these operations and they will tell you how it has changed their life by reducing pain and allowing them to get out and about again. Here, Spire Washington Hospital’s consultant orthopaedic surgeon Mr Patrick Duffy talks through the options for those contemplating a hip or knee replacement.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I undertook my Orthopaedic training in Newcastle and also spent time in Canada and the United States of America before coming back to the North East in 2007 to take up a position as a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at the University of North Durham and (generally!) I love my job.
The region is a fantastic combination of history and the great outdoors where I can spend my time with my family, including my two boisterous lads aged two and four, going biking in Hamsterley Forest or messing about in the water on the Northumberland Coast.
When do people come to see you regarding hip or knee replacements?
Generally most of my prospective hip and knee replacement patients have tried most of the so called “conservative” treatments, including simple painkillers, anti-inflammatories (e.g. Ibuprofen) and physiotherapy. It’s quite a personal decision to go ahead with surgery and part of my job is to help the patient come to the right decision for them and explain what is involved.
What does treatment entail?
Initially I’ll meet the patient in clinic and discuss the pros and cons of various treatment options. If the patient wishes to proceed with surgery, then we’ll arrange a date that is convenient for them. I’ll meet the patient again on the day of the surgery with the anaesthetist, check everything is safe to proceed and undertake the surgery. Patients are usually in for around three to four days and once they are safe on their feet, can be discharged home with walking sticks. By the time I see them back in clinic after six weeks they are generally walking unaided.
What do you like about working at Spire Washington Hospital?
The staff at Spire Washington Hospital do their utmost to ensure that the patient has a safe and comfortable experience with regards to their surgery which means I can get on with my job knowing that the patient will be well cared for throughout their stay. The out-patient facilities are excellent and if I require radiology or physiotherapy support, these are on hand, often without the patient needing to make a second appointment.
What are the benefits of someone coming to see you at Spire Washington Hospital?
All patients will be given a detailed appraisal of their condition. I will advise accordingly on the optimum treatment and what that would entail. If this involves surgery I would organise this at a convenient date enabling the patient to return to full function as rapidly as possible.
What questions should you always ask your consultant before surgery?
Some patients like to know the details about their surgery whilst others just want an outline of the benefits and possible complications. In general I think it’s entirely reasonable to ask your surgeon about their particular experience with your planned procedure and perhaps the track record of his or her preferred implant. I would also advise patients to ask their consultant about any particular limitations with regards to their activity after surgery, such as driving and exercise, in the short term whilst recovering from surgery.