The first operation was successfully carried out at Cannock and numerous patients are now benefitting from a new lease of life.
Taking around an hour to complete, the procedure allows two thirds of the knee to be preserved while completely replacing the worn out part.
Approximately 30 per cent of patients who consult their GP with severe knee osteoarthritis – a degenerative condition that causes joints to become painful and stiff – might benefit from partial knee replacement surgery.
The procedure involves a smaller incision to the knee compared to the much longer and more extensive surgery needed to put in a full knee replacement.
Patients considered suitable for day-case procedures would not have significant risk factors and don’t need to have someone at home to support them in the early days after surgery.
Ejaz Mughal, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, said: “By preserving the rest of the knee, recovery is quicker and the patient’s perception after surgery is their knee feels ‘more normal’.
“The Lancet published a report in 2019 showing better outcomes following a partial knee replacement compared to a total knee replacement, with better patient satisfaction results and patients more likely to have the operation again if needed for the other knee.
“It’s a slightly trickier operation than a total knee replacement because it’s done through a smaller incision means access to that part of the knee can be difficult.
“It is also slightly more technically challenging as the rest of the knee – including ligaments and tendons – need to be carefully preserved during surgery, some of which are routinely sacrificed during a total knee replacement.”
Cannock, which is part of The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, is able to offer this as a day-case procedure as it involves a smaller incision and less invasive surgery, along with a massive improvement in anaesthetic techniques and post-operative analgesis.
Mr Mughal added: “Routinely these patients have had to stay in hospital for two to three nights following surgery, but those having day-case surgery go home the same day having been shown how to fully weight bear on their knee upon discharge.
“They are in full control of their pain relief medication and are subsequently reviewed in outpatients, both by myself and the physiotherapy team. We have already seen a significant improvement in the post-operative experience.
“We are hoping this practice may eventually be extend into total knee and total hip replacements to be done as day-case procedures.”
Among the first patients to undergo this procedure was Paul Jones, 59, from Chadsmoor in Cannock.
The forklift truck driver was referred to Mr Mughal after seeing his GP when he found he couldn’t bend his right leg, and X-rays showed he had lost all his cartilage, with bone rubbing against bone.
Within a month, Paul had his operation – admitted at 9am, and by 5pm the same day, he was discharged with painkillers.
The father of one had his check-up with Mr Mughal this week on his 19th wedding anniversary to wife Wendy Jones, a nurse at Stafford County Hospital.
“I would recommend it to anyone,” said Paul. “It’s an improvement on what it was like before. I can now walk with no pain and it’s the best thing I could have done.
“It’s an amazing piece of kit and if you get Mr Mugdal and his team you won’t go far wrong.
“I’m now going to start using my mountain bike again, I can bend down and squat like I used to do before and I’m looking to go back to the gym with my son.”
Mr Mughal added: “We are confident this will become our standard practice within the trust, with identifying areas of improvement as we learn more from feedback we receive from patients, as well as our colleagues who are integral to this innovation.”
Charlotte Hathaway, trauma and orthopaedics group manager, said: “This a really fantastic service we are offering patients and can’t wait to see it develop and expand further.”
The new service means The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust now offers same-day replacement procedures for knees, hips and shoulders.