June Shakespeare regains full hand function after ‘WALANT’ surgery

06 August 2019

Following surgery to reattach tendons that were worn away due to wrist arthritis, June Shakespeare - a great grandmother in her eighties - is now able to grab back the many day-to-day skills that most people take for granted.

“It is amazing how just being able to brush your own hair can change your whole outlook on life,” June gushes, as she reflects on the aftermath of her surgery.

Having suffered from wrist arthritis for a while, the eighty-four-year had been gradually losing the use of her fingers over the past few years until it reached the stage where she could hardly use her hands at all. But after having surgery June, who lives in Great Barr, has been able to regain the use of her hands again.

“Opening doors, taking lids off jars, holding a cup or taking money from my purse. Even brushing my hair had become almost impossible. You can’t imagine just how much that impacted on my daily life,” she explained.

As the condition continued to deteriorate June met with Mr Gunaratman Shyamalan, a Specialist Hand and Wrist Surgeon with a practice at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull, near Birmingham. Mr Shyamalan explained that not only could he help her get movement back to her hands but he could also perform the surgery while she remained completely awake.

He said: “Years of arthritis in the bones of her wrist meant that the tendons to her fingers had been severed or ruptured – it is not an uncommon condition in elderly patients.

“What I did was use sections of healthy tendons to repair the torn ones while carrying out repairs to the badly damaged ones. I used a technique called WALANT (Wide Awake Local Anaesthesia No Tourniquet) which meant she was able to stay awake throughout the entire operation.

“Not only does this seem to put patients at ease, it also means they don’t have to recover from the effects of a general anaesthetic which speeds up their actual recovery process.”

Now, following a series of physiotherapy treatments, June is delighted to have ‘excellent movement’ back in her wrist.

She said: “The operation went very well and I was delighted to be able to chat to people in the operating theatre as Mr Shyamalan carried out his work. It really put me at my ease both before and during the actual surgery.

“It really is beyond my expectations to be able to do some everyday things that most people take for granted and, as a bit of a bonus, there is hardly a scar to show for the surgery he carried out.”

Q: How quickly could I have a consultation and how much would it cost? 

A: It depends on the availability of the consultant you wanted to see, but we pride ourselves on getting you fast access to diagnosis and you can often get a consultation within 24/48 hours. Initial consultation fees vary by consultant, but around £175 is a reasonable guide.

You can book online with Mr Gunaratman Shyamalan.

Q: If I need surgery, how quickly could I have it?

A: We have no waiting lists at Spire Parkway, but again, it depends on the availability of the consultant you wanted, but as a guide, and subject to your pre-operation assessment, between one and two weeks. 

Q: I don’t have health insurance, can I self-pay? 

A: Yes, you can. Our self-pay team can talk you through this and explain the finance options that are available, should you wish to explore them. Call 0121 704 5530 or send an enquiry.

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