‘Ship in a bottle’ hip operation gets Knowle doctor back on the water

10 October 2018

When Jennifer Hagon started getting pains in her hip she made all kinds of lifestyle changes in order to cope with the situation.

But when it finally prevented her from jumping on and off the family narrowboat she decided something significant had to be done.

After an x-ray arranged by her GP confirmed marked wear-and-tear arthritis in her hip, Jennifer (who is a well-known face in the area having been a GP in Knowle for over 30 years) decided that if she wanted to continue her active lifestyle then surgery was probably her only real option.

On the advice of a friend who had already had two hip replacement operations carried out by the same surgeon, she met with Orthopaedic Consultant Panos Makrides at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull.

“Not only did Mr Makrides advise me that I needed a new hip but he also explained about a new type of muscle-sparing surgery he carries out which would mean a quicker and more comfortable recovery period,” said 64 year old Jennifer.                                                

“Basically,” explained Mr Makrides, “I avoid dislocating the hip by approaching the joint through a small incision in the lower buttock. Then, instead of cutting through key muscles and nerves, I simply move them out of the way, putting them back into place when the procedure is completed.”

“You could say it’s a bit like building a ship inside a bottle – I go through a small space to operate in a larger space without ‘breaking the bottle.’"

“By not cutting any muscles around the hip and working through a small ‘window’ in the tissues, the hip can be replaced with minimal soft tissue damage which leads to faster recovery, shorter hospital stay and long-term return to full function.”

For Jennifer, who lives in Lapworth with husband Mike, the operation was the first step of a return to normal life. She said “I had trouble walking any distance at all, found it hard to drive and couldn’t play with my grandchildren because I just didn’t have the mobility.

“In a way it was making me old before my time. When I couldn’t get on the family narrowboat I thought 'that’s it, something has to be done.'”

Three weeks later she was ‘forgetting’ to use her crutches and seven weeks after leaving hospital she was back on board the narrowboat, hopping on and off as she managed the locks along a local stretch of canal.

Someone else to benefit from Jennifer's ‘back to fitness’ is Vesta – the couple’s flat-coat retriever!

“It is great to be able to take her out and just walk for as long as we want,” said Jennifer. “I would advise people to do muscle-strengthening exercises before the operation and stick to their physiotherapy exercises afterwards in order to get the best results.”

“But, considering the sort of operation I had, I can hardly believe I was up and about so quickly. Persistent hip pain requires a professional assessment and then discussion of treatment options. If surgery is one of those options then it is certainly something worth looking into.”

View Jennifer's testimonial in Panos Makrides video

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.

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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