Roger Bannister – “Osseointegration is a Different World”

In 2019, Roger Bannister, a motorbike devotee and keen fisherman from Witham, was on his way home when a car crashed straight into him, crushing his leg just five hundred yards away from his front door.

Members of the public waved down an ambulance which by chance was driving through town and an air ambulance then airlifted Roger to hospital. Rogers’ right leg was amputated above the knee, and he spent the next 6 weeks in hospital battling numerous infections and recovering from the accident. “In the hospital I was torn apart”, said Roger. After finally returning home, COVID-19 struck resulting in Roger being wheelchair bound for 4 months. Roger had always been an active individual, taking part in 4 different motorcycle clubs, travelling in his motorhome 2-3 times a month with his wife and carp fishing regularly; this was an extremely difficult time for Roger to be at a standstill.

Once the pandemic came to an ease, he was able to begin his rehabilitation and went to Dorset Orthopaedic’s clinic in Amersham. “This is when things started to fly, my physio Kat had me doing so many exercises and my prosthetist Jamie kitted me out with a socket and Ottobock Genium microprocessor knee,” explained Roger. “When the accident happened, I thought I would be stuck in a wheelchair forever, but I took the prostheses home two weeks after being fitted with it and was walking daily from then.” However, Roger’s progress came to a halt when he realised, he was allergic to his liner which resulted in his residual limb being blistered. He also had a spur on the end of the bone which was agony against his socket. “The furthest I could walk was 100 yards on a good day, it was too painful.”

Roger’s prosthetist Jamie Gillespie suggested Osseointegration (OI) to Roger and introduced him to 3 other people who went through the procedure to offer advice. OI is a pioneering procedure that involves fitting a titanium implant directly into the bone, allowing for a prosthesis to be connected. Relimb have collaborated with Dorset Orthopaedic since 2018 running regular multidisciplinary clinics at the Royal Free Hospital in London, to assess new patients to ensure that people who are about to embark on this phase of surgery and rehabilitation are in the best physical and mental shape as possible. Roger attended one of these clinics and was described to his surprise as an “ideal candidate for OI”, a month later he was booked in for the surgery.

After Roger’s surgery he went to Dorset Orthopaedic’s clinic in Burton Upon Trent for a week of Residential Rehabilitation and began a twelve-week weight loading process on his prostheses. “I was fitted with my leg and up walking that week. The lady at the hotel bar gave me a free pint she was so impressed!”, continued Roger. During his rehabilitation, Roger did go back to Relimb to get his residual limb “refashioned” due to his skin sagging. Roger continued to work hard completing his exercises at home and finished off his rehabilitation at Dorset Orthopaedic’s clinic in Egham with physiotherapist Lauren Young. “It was great to have physiotherapy outside of the clinic, we went on walks along the river, in Windsor and to museums”, explained Roger.

Since completing his rehabilitation, Roger now walks up to 4 miles a day, is back fishing with his friends and can travel in his motorhome with his wife. “Having OI has been life changing compared to a socket, it’s a whole different world. I no longer get blisters or sores; it takes me 5 seconds to put my leg on in the morning and I can drive easier.” Roger has a clear new lease of life since his OI and is looking forward to a busy year which includes moving house and seeing the northern lights with his wife to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.