David's story

A robotic double knee replacement eased David's excruciating knee pain

A robotic double knee replacement eased David's excruciating knee pain

After suffering with knee pain for over 15 years, David Caddick underwent bilateral partial knee replacement surgery (a procedure where both knee joints are replaced at the same time), with the advanced Mako® robotic-arm assisted technology at The Princess Grace Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK. Here he explains the treatment he underwent, and how quickly he was able to get back to being active and doing the hobbies he loved.

Davids story robotic knee replacement.jpg

David, aged 61 and an active individual, was able to manage the pain in his knees for years, while taking part in hobbies he loved, including clay shooting, golf and foil fencing.

However, after completing the London Marathon in 2013, his knees started to deteriorate, eventually reaching the point where he was taking daily painkillers and having cortisone injections every three months to keep the pain at bay. 

Reaching a diagnosis

He was diagnosed with early arthritis in his mid-fifties. As the pain progressed, even tasks like driving, sitting at a desk and walking downhill became challenging. Too young to be in so much pain, David - who has high hopes to tackle the 182-mile Coast to Coast Walk in the future - got in contact with Mr Rob Pollock, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at The Princess Grace Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK. After his appointment with Mr Pollock, David was diagnosed with medial compartment osteoarthritis in both his left and right knee.

Because the disease was only in one part of his knees, he was advised that the best course of action would be partial knee replacement surgery using the Mako® robotic arm, replacing the damaged joint surfaces of his knees with prosthetic implants. David booked in for the surgery in October 2020, which was performed at The Princess Grace Hospital by Mr Pollock and covered by BUPA through his company’s private healthcare policy.

Understanding the benefits of robotic orthopaedic surgery

Considered to be the gold standard for knee replacements, this advanced orthopaedic technology was chosen over more conventional techniques as it is known to reduce pain, speed up recovery time and provide better long-term function for patients.

Using CT scan images, Mr Pollock was able to view 3D models of David’s knee joints prior to surgery. This was used to identify the prosthesis size, orientation, and alignment based on David’s individual anatomy and create his personalised surgical plan.

The Mako® robot was then virtually programmed to perform the operation, enabling Mr Pollock to preserve the healthy bone and soft tissue, providing greater precision when aligning and placing implants and leaving David with perfectly balanced knees - which would ultimately have a better range of motion, strength and function to enable him to resume his active lifestyle. 

For David, the surgery has been an absolute saviour, not only for his mental health, but also his personal and professional life, self-esteem and wellbeing. He adds: “A few people thought I was “a bit mad” deciding to have surgery on both knees at the same time. However, the pain was becoming progressively worse, and I was determined that it would not prevent me from doing the things I love. I had heard positive things about the shorter recovery time the Mako® surgery offers and indeed, just a few hours after my operation, I started physiotherapy. Three days later, I was walking on crutches, using the stairs and ready to go home - I couldn’t believe it!

Mr Pollock adds: “Prior to robotic surgery, we would only have performed one knee replacement at a time. As a less invasive option, the cutting edge Mako® robot facilitates a quicker recovery and return to normal activities for patients, making bilateral knee replacement surgery possible, and the best option in David’s case. The surgery was a success, however supporting a patient through this journey is truly a team operation – from the surgical team to the nursing and physiotherapy teams.

Recovery enhanced by his immediate and comprehensive physiotherapy plan

David started physiotherapy straight after his operation at The Princess Grace Hospital, with an in-depth aftercare plan provided by Adem Sogular, a physiotherapist at the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health (ISEH) in partnership with HCA Healthcare UK. This continuity of treatment and regular, ongoing communication between David’s consultant and physiotherapist has played a significant role.

To improve his function and performance, David’s personalised rehabilitation programme included weekly outpatient physiotherapy sessions at the ISEH. This included manual therapy and access to the ISEH’s newly fitted gym and state-of-the-art equipment, with a focus on resistance and weight training to build up his strength. He was also able to access hydrotherapy through the ISEH, one of the few facilities in the UK that offers this treatment. 

David comments: “The therapy pool really gave me confidence to move on in my recovery and rebuild my strength, particularly in the early stages when swelling and pain were an issue. Exercising in the water helped the muscles and joints to relax and the relative weightlessness encouraged me to push myself further and exercise a little harder than I could out of the water. I would say hydrotherapy is vital to show anyone who has had this type of orthopaedic surgery what is possible in terms of regaining movement and extension after this surgery.

Five months on, David can walk 18 holes of a golf course pain-free and is doing daily 30-minute workouts on his spin bike. Prior to surgery, he was unable to fully straighten his knee. He has since doubled his range of movement, while his flexibility and bend is now 15 – 20% better than it was before his operation – much more than he could have hoped for.

Learn more about the orthopaedic services we offer at HCA UK

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.