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New equipment helps end fall agony for Lindsey

25 September 2017

It was a holiday accident that, in years to come, the whole family may well laugh about. But when Lindsey Sword tripped over her seven-year-old son Henry during a caravan park power cut it was just not funny!

The 41-year-old mum-of-two put her arm out to break her fall – breaking her wrist in the process.

Because the fracture was so slight, it wasn’t spotted when Lindsey went to hospital for an x-ray the following day. But that didn’t stop it being very painful!

“I couldn’t believe the pain I was in,” said Lindsey, a Logistics Manager with Jaguar Land Rover, who lives in Solihull with partner Paul and sons Henry and Jacob.

“Simple tasks, such as getting dressed, lifting the kettle, opening doors with handles that needed to be twisted and generally cooking and caring for the family were all almost impossible because of the pain.”

After a couple of months of suffering Lindsey, on the advice of a physiotherapist friend, met with Orthopaedic Consultant Gunaratnam Shyamalan, who explained: “There was no wonder the previous hospital couldn’t see the fracture because it was a very hairline break off the radius, that was only visible thanks to an MRI scan.

“What Lindsey had was a ‘step’ or ‘ridge’ between where the bone had fractured that was causing her pain whenever she rotated her wrist even to a minor extent.”

Mr Shyam was then able to investigate the break at very close quarters thanks to new ‘scoping’ equipment that has just been bought by Spire Parkway at a cost of £33,000.

The Arthrex scopes, at just 2.4mm, with light leads to allow keyhole procedures in very small joints which are ‘opened up’ thanks to a support tower which allows the hand and lower arm to hang freely and gives the surgeon easy access to the injured area.

Mr Shyam explained: “The fingers are suspended in a traction device called a tower. This gently pulls the joint apart creating a potential operating space. The skin incisions are about 3mm and I created three holes which allow me into the injured area. In this case a 2mm ‘shaver’ allowed me to remove post-fracture joint scarring before I smoothed the defect with a 2mm power burr.

“We really are talking small. Wrist arthroscopy is nothing new but what has changed is the equipment and the new techniques allowing us to work with very small joints in the thumb and knuckles.”

As for Lindsey, she added: “I am enjoying family life again – I can play with the boys without worrying about hurting my wrist, we’re back to regular swimming sessions as well as playing badminton and cricket.

“The operation was virtually pain-free and recovery, thanks to some great physio, was really quick. I was worried my wrist might have to be in a plaster cast or something but I was just bandaged and a few days later that was replaced by a couple of sticky plasters.

“I was back at work within two weeks – it was amazing to have the pain disappear so quickly – and with so little fuss.”

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