Bespoke knee replacement helps skier back on the slopes

24 June 2014

Spire Bushey Hospital orthopaedic surgeon Mr Richard Carrington performed a new type of bespoke partial knee replacement called Conformis, created with the help of a 3D printer on patient Paul Wilmott last year.

Mr Carrington was one of the first few consultants in the UK to use this new prosthesis, and Spire Bushey Hospital is one of the first hospitals in the Spire Healthcare Group to do so.

Keen skier Paul Wilmott feared he might never hit the slopes again after an old injury to his left knee flared up again last June.

Even mowing the grass became painful and doing any exercise made it swollen, painful and unable to withstand pressure.

He was forced to abandon his favourite pastimes of skiing and cycling.

Yet thanks to a new type of bespoke knee replacement created with the help of a 3D printer, the 51-year-old company director was back in his skis by December.

"I had no pain whatsoever, even though I was on the slopes at Ischgl, in Austria, for up to seven hours a day and skiing is renowned for putting pressure on knees," says Paul.

"My new knee is remarkable and I feel so lucky to have the new implant."

Paul has been fitted with a bespoke implant made by US company Conformis which uses the latest in 3D technology.

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Richard Carrington, of Spire Bushey Hospital, Hertfordshire, who fitted Paul’s knee, says: "This is a huge advance – a bespoke knee replacement is like having a suit fitted and adjusted rather than buying a standard size over the internet. All knees are completely different."

Paul had suffered from knee pain since his mid-30s. He says: "I went through years of pain and operations – I was on four types of pain relief a day.

"By the time I had the replacement, I couldn’t even mow the grass because any weight bearing was agony. I love skiing, sailing and running so found the situation incredibly frustrating."

He is thrilled with the results of his surgery, saying: "Next day I was able to put weight on my leg and two days later I was in the hospital swimming pool with a physiotherapist. I occasionally have discomfort but that’s unsurprising considering I’ve had about ten operations altogether.

"I’m just so happy that I finally found one that worked – and worked brilliantly."

Mr Carrington and his patient appeared in an article in the Mail on Sunday and Mail online earlier this month.

Since the article was written Paul has completed a 250 mile bicycle ride to Paris over a three-day period, which included a massive 110 miles in a single day, experiencing no problems in his knee throughout.

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