For the first time, patients outside the military who are looking for a life free from socket-related problems or nerve related pain will be able to access these pioneering surgical procedures and specialist rehabilitation in one package of care within the UK. This service is run by Dorset Orthopaedic and Relimb – part of the private patients’ unit (PPU) based at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.
Matthew Hughes, Managing Director at Dorset Orthopaedic, said: “We’re delighted to be a part of this pioneering new partnership with Relimb and bringing these incredible treatments to the UK.”
Relimb surgeons Norbert Kang and Alex Woollard, who work in the PPU at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust in Hampstead will perform the surgical procedures, while Dorset Orthopaedic will provide follow-up rehabilitation and support.
Mr Kang added: “We’re incredibly excited to be the first in the UK to offer this combination of revolutionary procedures from one surgical unit. It is a great honour for us and couldn’t have happened without the combined efforts of many teams. We’re delighted to be partnering with Dorset Orthopaedic to provide this service, which will ensure our patients experience a seamless pathway of care.”
Although traditional prosthetic sockets are still used by the wider amputee population in the UK Osseointegration is becoming a popular alternative.
Osseointegration (OI), also known as direct skeletal fixation (DSF), is a pioneering procedure that involves fitting a titanium implant directly into the bone, allowing for a prosthesis to be connected to it. This method represents a significant departure from the traditional approach of fitting a socket to a residual limb, which has been the prominent method for hundreds of years.
Osseointegration was discovered in the 1950s and introduced to the UK in the 1990s. Initially an option for above the knee amputees, the technique is increasingly being used to treat below the knee and upper limb patients thanks to the increase in the collective global experience of the procedure.
The insertion of a titanium implant into the bone is performed as part of a one or two stage surgery. After this, a period of gradual and increased loading through the implant then takes place
The benefits of being able to walk on prosthetics are acknowledged as being both psychological as well as physical. It can dramatically improve the lifestyle of the individual as well as their long-term health, in addition to reducing dependency and potentially providing the opportunity to return to work if they have not been able to before. Because the prosthesis is directly attached into the bone, patients feel it as being part of their own body by natural osseoperception. The removal of the need for a socket also has the benefit of eliminating any long term challenges associated with their use, such as chafing, rubbing, friction, excoriation, ulcers and infections. Good hygiene and care around the site where the abutment protrudes out of the body is essential to reduce the risk of infection, although inflammation of the bone is rare.
Potential benefits of Osseointegration:
- A better quality of life
- Comfort without the use of sockets
- Increased prosthetic use
- More stability and increased safety when walking
- Improved comfort when seated
- Minimal skin complications
Why not come to one of our Osseointegration open days and speak to amputees that have been through the procedure and see the quality of life they enjoy for yourself!