Former footballer scores first in pioneering robot-assisted operation

20 March 2019

A former professional footballer who played for more than five North West clubs, including Manchester United, is the first person in the region to have a bespoke total hip replacement performed with the help of a £1million robot.

Oshor Williams, 60, who lives in Cheadle Hulme, had the 'Mako' procedure at the Spire Hospital in Didsbury, Manchester before Christmas. Once a professional football player, he is now Assistant Director of Education at the Professional Footballers’ Association.

Oshor says the robot-assisted operation allowed him to recover and get moving, much more quickly than the ‘normal’ hip replacement he’d had the year before and will last longer. 

He says: “My career as a footballer undoubtedly took its toll on my hips. Playing sport day in, day out and training at a professional level, plays havoc with your joints. I’ve suffered for years with painful hips and by 2017, it had got to the stage where I couldn’t do many of the things I loved doing. Going for a walk was painful, as was swimming and cycling, and running was totally impossible. Bear in mind, most of my life I have been very active and always enjoyed sport and leisure activities, so not being able to do them was quite depressing. 

“In November 2017, I had my first hip replaced in a ‘routine’ procedure and although I was glad to get it done and the outcome was successful, the recovery time was frustrating. So when the time came to have the other hip done, I was intrigued to hear about the new Mako procedure at the Spire Hospital in Didsbury. 

“I couldn’t believe there’d be so much difference between the two procedures. Just a fortnight afterwards, I only needed minor pain relief in the mornings, compared to my previous experience, where I was on string painkillers and able to do much less. That was particularly difficult because the drugs made me tired during the day and made me feel a bit low.  

“Within three weeks of the op, I was able to use public transport and do gentle exercises in the swimming pool and by four weeks I was able to swim quite comfortably, helping me to regain more fitness and mobility. It was a godsend to someone like me who needs to be active and on-the-go all the time  - my wife Linda was also relieved I recovered so quickly, as it meant we could get out and about socially together, instead of being stuck in the house.”

Professor Max Fehily, of the Spire Manchester Hospital says: “Oshor has benefitted from having the most precise hip replacement surgeons have ever been able to offer – both in terms of preparing the hip joint, and in carrying out the operation. For the first time, we are operating on hips using a robotic arm to guide what we do in the operation. This reduces the common complications of hip surgery and causes less trauma to healthy tissue during the operation, ensuring the very best outcome for people like Oshor and getting them back to their activities as soon as possible and for much longer.”

Oshor Williams:

Oshor began his career at Middlesborough in 1974, aged 16. He played for clubs around the country, including Manchester United, Southampton, Stockport, Preston North End and Port Vale and retired in 1995, after an injury.


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