Rugby- play­ing mum is given a new knee

A rev­o­lu­tion­ary knee op­er­a­tion could al­low a rugby- mad mum to make a mirac­u­lous re­turn to the play­ing field.

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Yourtelegraph - By KenMcEr­lain ken. mcer­lain@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk Twit­ter: @ PTKenMcEr­lain 01733 588728

Linda Hick­son ( 44), from Deep­ing St James, is one of the first peo­ple in the UK to be given a new made- tomea­sure knee f ol­low­ing ground- break­ing surgery at the Fitzwilliam Hospi­tal in Peter­bor­ough.

Linda, who plays at Num­ber Eight for Deep­ing Devils Rugby Club, is hop­ing her new knee will al­low her to play again which would have been un­think­able just 12 months ago af­ter be­ing left in ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain from years of wear and tear.

This pre­vented Linda f rom do­ing any form of phys­i­cal ex­er­cise and even climb­ing the stairs be­came a prob­lem.

Linda, a mother- of- two, said: “My days of play­ing a match are prob­a­bly over but I’d like to do a full train­ing ses­sion again.

“I feel 100 times bet­ter. I really can’t be­lieve how much dif­fer­ence this has made. I’ve been on bike rides, horse rid­ing, play­ing ta­ble ten­nis and I even sneaked in a gen­tle rugby train­ing ses­sion.

“My fi­nal test comes soon when I plan to go ski­ing again – the last time I did I lasted half an hour be­fore I ended up in tears through the pain.”

Af­ter two key- hole pro­ce­dures on her de­gen­er­at­ing knee and a se­ries of in­jec­tions, Linda’s con­sul­tant, Richard Hart­ley, a con­sul­tant orthopaedic sur­geon, sug­gested a new pro­ce­dure called a Vi­sion­aire Knee re­place­ment.

It in­volves tak­ing an MRI scan of the knee and full length X- rays and then the

“I feel 100 times bet­ter. I can’t be­lieve it.”

Linda Hick­son

in­tri­cate three- di­men­sional im­ages are used to cre­ate a per­fect replica jig of the knee.

The jigs - re­place­ment knee joints - are man­u­fac­tured in the USA and once Mr Hart­ley is sat­is­fied the di­men­sions and fit are a per­fect match, the jigs go into pro­duc­tion and the fin­ished prod­uct ar­rives by post.

Mr Hart­ley said: “Ex­ist­ing pro­ce­dures are as ef­fi­cient but the minute pre­ci­sion of this process means there may be less wear and tear on the joint, and this could mean it will last longer than the av­er­age 15- year life of the tra­di­tional re­place­ment im­plant.

“Linda is young and we know she has still got a lot of ac­tiv­ity ahead of her so we wanted to give her the best pos­si­ble chance of along- term re­place­ment so­lu­tion.”

Vi­sion­aire could mean safer, quicker treat­ment for most knee re­place­ment pa­tients, it is also hoped the new im­plant will last 20 years or even longer. It is not yet avail­able on the NHS in this re­gion.

Linda Hick­son with her rugby club col­leagues, above, and Linda about town, be­low.

An im­age of the new joint fit­ted into Linda’s leg, top, and an X- ray of her joint, right

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