05 February 2018

80 year old walks again two days after surgery due to innovative 'bone cement treatment'

80 year old walks again two days after surgery due to innovative 'bone cement treatment'

An 80 year old woman is able to walk again two days after spinal surgery thanks to innovative new research at Nottingham University Hospitals.

 Stella Travis came to the emergency department at Queen's Medical Centre after a fall resulted in a fracture in her pelvis.

Stella described the pain as 'horrific' and she was unable to move in bed due to fractures on either side of her sacrum - the triangular bone at the back of the pelvis.

She was seen by Professor Opinder Sahota, Consultant in Ortho - Geriatric Medicine, who, with the Spinal Team, recommended a type of keyhole surgery known as sacroplasty, in which the fracture is filled in with a substance known as 'bone cement'.

Stella, who had the operation the 22 January, said: "It's not perfect but it's so much better. I'm hoping it will get better still."

No stranger to hospitals, Stella worked as a midwife in hospitals across the country, including in Nottingham City Hospital labour ward, until retiring 20 years ago.

She said: "I've spent my life looking after other people. I've got to be able to do things myself.  I'm looking forward to regaining my independence."

Tom Allison, the physiotherapist who has been working with Stella, said: "Two days after the surgery Stella was walking the entire length of the ward with her walking frame. Her pain was a lot more manageable and she was able to get out of bed and move around independently.

"She is doing really well. Had she not had this surgery she would have likely been in a lot of pain and experiencing reduced mobility. Normally with fractures of this kind, the rate of healing is much slower. There are lots of factors influencing this but it could be anywhere between two to three months, while pain continues to be an issue."

One of the spinal surgeons who carried out the procedure, Dr. Areena D'Souza, Senior Spinal Fellow, congratulated Stella on how well she had done.

She said: "The procedure went as planned and we got a good fill of cement at the fracture site. This type of surgery can see a big change in patients. They can go from being in bed in pain, to getting up and about, being a totally different person!"

Professor Sahota hopes more patients will be able to receive this treatment and was recently awarded a £300,000 research grant from the National Institute of Health Research for a new feasibility study, the ASSERT trial, which will further evaluate this work.

He said: "We hope this research will show that this type of surgery is hugely beneficial to older people. It helps to relieve pain and encourages early restoration of mobility and function so that patients can get out of hospital and back to their normal lives as quickly as possible.

"As well as being better for the patient, it also could have significant cost savings for health and social care. This study involves exciting multi-disciplinary working, with consultants and surgeons working together to provide innovative key hole surgery treatments for older people."

NHS Nottingham University Hospitals
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