Osseointegration, coming soon to the UK
Over the weekend I was delighted to read the news in the Independent on Sunday that, after a lengthy campaign, osseointegration is coming to the UK, with the Ministry of Defence spending £2million on a trial for 20 amputees to have the revolutionary surgery, currently only available abroad. The article can be read here
Osseointegration is a form of surgery, also known as direct skeletal fixation, which does away with the need for an amputee to wear a socket upon which he or she would traditionally attach their prosthesis. Instead, a titanium implant is fitted directly to the bone and a prosthetic leg connected to it. The potential benefits of this procedure are huge as sockets can cause amputees numerous problems including infections, pressure sores, friction, rubbing, sweating and chaffing, any of which can result in the amputee having to remove their prosthesis and instead rely on a wheelchair to get around.
After much lobbying by Professor Munjed Al-Muderis, one of very few surgeons in the world to perform osseointegration, and regarded as the leading expert in it, the Ministry of Defence have agreed to commence a trial for up to 20 injured military personnel to see if they benefit from the procedure. Up until now, injured military personnel have had to travelto Australia to undergo such surgery, incurring substantial additional costs of flights and accommodation whilst recovering from surgery. Those that have undergone the procedure, swear by it, and claim it has made a huge difference to their lives. Michael Swain OBE is one such soldier, and he told the Independent on Sunday about how his life had been changed since undergoing osseointegration. I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael last year and you can listen to his views about osseointegration and the impact it has had on his life here or on YouTube here
It is now Michael's, Profesor Al Muderis', and indeed my hope, that following the Ministry of Defence trial, osseointegration will be seen as a hugely beneficial form of treatment which not only will make life easier for amputees, but potentially also lead to cost savings for the NHS, as amputees who have previously been unable to return to work and largely confined to home, may find that they are more mobile, more happy, more functional and able to return to some form of employment. Osseointegration could very well be the "win-win" that the NHS needs at a time when its resources are being stretched further than ever before.
By Mark Bowman, Partner:
Mark joined Fieldfisher as a trainee in 2003 and was promoted to Partner in 2013. He successfully pursues personal injury claims and medical negligence claims on behalf of victims and their families.
His medical negligence practice is wide ranging and includes birth injury, surgical negligence and delayed diagnosis amongst others. His personal injury speciality is catastrophic injury cases and in particular road traffic accidents and accidents at work. Mark has recently secured the right to anonymity for Claimants who are protected parties or children in personal injury or medical negligence cases, in the landmark Court of Appeal case of JxMx.