Peter back on court thanks to pioneering bone wedge treatment

After fifty years of competitive tennis Peter Childs feared a knee injury could finally put him out of the game.

But thanks to an operation being pioneered by a Basingstoke surgeon, the 62-year-old company director is back on court and looking forward to competing for years to come.

Peter, of Iver in Buckinghamshire, who has played at County, National and International level, was back on court less than four months after a knee operation performed by orthopaedic surgeon Adrian Wilson at BMI Hampshire Clinic.

Bone wedge treatment for Peter at BMI The Hampshire Clinic
Peter Childs back playing at County level

He said: “I really did think this could be it for competitive playing but just weeks after the operation I was amazed at how quickly I was recovering. I just thought ‘I can do this, I can get back to the fitness levels I need to carry on competing’,” said Peter.

Surgeon Mr Wilson performed an osteotomy, where a cut is made into the shin bone which is then opened to create a wedge. The surgeon then realigns the leg to take pressure off the injured area.

Traditionally the wedge would be held with a plate until it had time to heal in the same way a fracture would heal.

“Using this technique would usually mean full healing would take, on average, between 12 and 18 months,” explained Mr Wilson.

But, using bone from a donor bank, Mr Wilson creates a wedge that fits exactly into the space he has cut into the patient’s shin. This then holds the leg in its newly-realigned position and goes on to heal like normal bone.

“Because the new wedge fills the gap we have created in the shinbone it significantly accelerates the recovery. It acts like a cork in a bottle and prevents bleeding so we have less swelling and a much quicker recovery time.

“The patients are now routinely experiencing minimal pain immediately after their operation and are usually able to go home the next day.

“I have performed this procedure on 46 patients in the last year and in 25% of cases they have reported no pain at all – not even enough to make them want to take a paracetamol or minor pain killer,” he added.

“Many surgeons would have offered Peter a partial or total knee replacement but I knew he wanted to carry on playing tennis at a high level and I felt this operation gave him the greatest chance of doing that.

“What’s more, because patients are living a lot longer and want to maintain an active lifestyle - artificial joints are not designed for impact activity.”

Mr Wilson and his team are now regularly asked to present their results at national and international meetings and, working with ‘centres of excellence’ in Carlisle and Cardiff, he has established a national database to monitor the progress of patients at www.UKKOR.co.uk.

As for Peter, whose operation costs were covered by private medical insurance, he said: “I was amazed at how quickly I was back playing tennis. Now I’m back in the Buckinghamshire county side and I still can’t quite believe it.

“I really do owe a big thanks you to Mr Wilson and all his team at the BMI Hampshire Clinic.”

Date: 3rd July 2015