Back in the gym two weeks after a full knee replacement
The team at Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre have been astounded by the recovery of a patient who is back at the gym just over two weeks after a complete knee replacement.
Mr Giuseppe Ferrarelli underwent the operation at the centre after a trip while on holiday in Gran Canaria exacerbated an old injury. Mr Ferrarelli explained: “I had my cartilage partially removed in 1979 and then, in 1990, I had an arthroscopy to clean out the arthritis from the joint. The damage had been caused by years of playing football and, when I was an apprentice in the electricity supply industry, I spent seven years wearing leg-irons to help climbing.”
Mr Ferrarelli went to see his GP and was prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs but he decided not to take any further action until his knee gave way again. This time he had no choice but to act. “My GP looked at my leg and not only was my knee swollen but it was also bent out of shape.”
An X-ray and a consultation with one of the centre’s orthopaedic surgeons revealed that a full knee replacement was needed. Mr Ferrarelli said: “I could not fault the team from the moment I walked into the hospital until the moment I left. They were kind and considerate and very attentive.
“I met Marco La Malfa, the centre’s Medical Director, on the morning of my surgery. I moved to England from Italy when I was three years old and Marco is from Rome, 40 miles away from where I was born.
“He explained to me that he was going to do the operation using a spinal anaesthetic and there after I would be sedated throughout. I was a little concerned that I would be able to hear everything that was going on but he reassured me. He was right: I was aware of some noise at the very start and the next thing I knew I was being taken back on to the recovery area and then the ward. I laughed to my wife that Marco must have slipped me some Amaretto!”
Back on the ward Mr Ferrarelli was able to reassure the other patients waiting for their operations. He said: “Some of the patients asked if there was anything to worry about. I was able to tell them that there was nothing to it at all and that everyone in the theatre was wonderful.”
In the afternoon, Mr Ferrarelli was visited by one of the team’s physiotherapists who helped him to use a walking frame. Mr Ferrarelli said: “It went well so when, the next morning, the physio suggested walking with crutches, I felt quite confident. We were both happy with the way it went. I had been to the gym before my operation to build up my leg muscles and I really think that paid dividends.”
Two and a half days after the operation Mr Ferrarelli was able to go home. “I laughed with the nurses that I hoped I was on the seven-day all-inclusive package: the food had been so good, with lots of choice, and everyone had been so attentive.”
Now Mr Ferrarelli is back at the gym, sooner than many patients. “I am taking it very carefully and being sensible,” he explained. “I am doing exercise for my arms and going on the treadmill at a slow walking pace for 20 minutes at a time. I am also going for a daily walk.”
Mr Ferrarelli and his wife, who are regular globe trotters, have a goal. In three months they are off to Florida to celebrate their joint 70th birthday with their three sons, two of whom live in America. Mr Ferrarelli said: “We are very much looking forward to it, as I will be pain free and have freedom of movement. We are even talking about getting a sneaky short haul holiday in before!”
Medical Director Marco La Malfa said: “I am delighted to hear my patient and fellow countryman is recovering well and that he was pleased with the care he received – though I can assure Mrs Ferrarelli no Amaretto was involved!
“The operation was a complete success. We find using the regional block, within an enhanced pathway, rather than a general anaesthetic, allows a patient to recover more quickly. This in turn allows them to make a speedy return to their own home. There they not only feel more comfortable but they also face fewer risks of acquiring Deep Vein Thrombosis as they are up and about.
“I think it was an excellent idea for Mr Ferrarelli to work towards the level of fitness he was able to safely achieve prior to the operation. He has worked hard at his recovery, following his physio and gym instructor’s guidance, and now it is paying dividends. I hope he and his wife have a wonderful birthday and that they go on to add many more countries to their passports.”