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.
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.”
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