05 February 2018
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
Stella Travis came to the emergency department at Queen's
Medical Centre after a fall resulted in a fracture in her
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
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
"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
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."