Returning to the operating table – removal of metal work. Osteotomy concluded

In January 2018, I underwent a Tibial Osteotomy operation at the One Hatfield Hospital in the UK. I had been suffering from the onset of arthritis on my right knee and needed a solution that would avoid a knee replacement operation and get my life back to some level of normality.

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Returning in 2019 to remove the metalwork

The osteotomy had given me a lot of improvement. The physio work and muscle built around my knees in the gym has given me 90% of my life back. The knee issue hasn’t gone away but I feel so much stronger, some pain does remain but this differs from day to day – that’s just the ageing process!

RHS shows healed bone

As the metalwork in my leg did irritate me from time to time, I took my surgeons advice and booked myself in to have the metalwork removed on 27th March 2019. Mr Minhal Chatoo would be my surgeon again. He was brilliant.

The metal work extraction procedure would be a day case. The procedure would take up to 1 hour to remove the screws and plates. Due to the nature of the operation, I would be under general anesthetic, meaning the time in the operating theatre increases to allow for the time to recover as well.

Upon arrival and being allocated a room at the hospital, one of the nurses came in and read my BP, went through standard paper work, handed over a gown, pants and socks – I’m not sharing any pictures of that!

Shortly after, the anesthetist came round as well and confirmed that Mr Chatoo would be operating on me as the first patient of his day.

Mr Chatoo came in to mark my leg before the operation and we had a light hearted conversation. He mentioned the operation is very quick and low risk so was happy to proceed.

Once he left, I was taken downstairs to the operating theatre. As I walked down someone talked me through the procedure again and kept me assured.

Once I was asked to lay down on the bed, I was connected to the ECG and given the anethestic. In seconds, I was out.

Coming round after the operation

I felt groggy after the operation. It was about 10:20 am as I noticed the clock. They showed me the metalwork that was removed from my leg – 2 pins 4 inches long, 3 screws 3 inches long and 6 other smaller screws. They told me I was unable to keep the screws due to protocol; though I wish I could have kept them as a souvenir…

The pain was unbearable and the nurses gave me strong pain killers. 20mins later, it still felt bad so they gave me more – but I think it was codeine. 

Shortly after I was taken back upstairs to my room and Loiza was sat waiting. 

I remember falling in and out of sleep and still in pain. To me, this felt much more painful than the osteotomy last year. 

It took a while for me to eat lunch (soup and a sandwich), just the tiredness from the drugs and the pain. 

I remember the Physio “Saul” visit . He got me out of the bed and made me go for a walk. We made it to a stairwell and then down a flight of stairs. He did say the pain will be high but I will need to get moving sooner. The recovery period would be :

  1. Next 2 days full rest and some movement
  2. Use crutches for a few days after that
  3. Walk without crutches thereafter
  4. Keep moving and apply icepacks if there is swelling

The recovery period was a lot shorter but I kept in mind that there was a deep cut, stitches and several holes in my tibia that would take time to recover.

I was able to walk however I was very tired due to the drugs. I made it back to the room and then met Mr Chatoo again. I remember him telling me that he placed “wax plugs in the screw holes!” to reduce the bleeding from the bone. 

Mr Chatoo also said the operation was uneventful- this is good news.

I rested again and of course, fell asleep. When I came round again I was still in pain and was given more painkillers. 

The nurse mentioned that I could be discharged once Mr Chatoo comes round at about 5 pm. The discharge was quick and easy and everything was set for me to go home.

I was wheelchaired to the car – We drove home in my Audi. The ride was great as I was glad to be going home. 

When I got home, we took the picture below.

I was exhausted. I slept in Aroon’s room and was out as soon as I hit the pillow. I know I woke up in the middle night and Loiza had to help me to go to the restroom – it was still to early and I was unsteady on my feet – the drugs were not helping and as it transpired I had a bad reaction to the codeine.

Day of the Tibial Osteotomy Surgery

January 31st (Day of op)

I didn’t have a good sleep the night before so got up early. No food or drink as prescribed by the hospital so getting ready was quick. Priya was awake and gave me a hug before she went off to get her breakfast. Aroon was asleep so i gave him a shove. Time of arrival to the hospital is 7am. I remembered for the last 4 or so weeks repeating to myself “this is the last time i do….in a while”…well that the end of the line now.

We arrived at the hospital on time and taken to my room. All sparse but the TV was good. Not sure how many people have used the room as its all very new.

Mr Minhal Chatoo (Surgeon and specialist ) came in and spoke about the operation and highlighted the risks. This is expected as he covered risks in tibia under/over correction, risk of cutting a nerve and rehab time. The good news from what he said was movement on the Knee will be possible as the cuts will be below the knee. He was very reassuring as he drew an arrow on my leg

He left by saying that i am the second person on his list and that the anaesthetist will be round later. We sat until 10:20am and then was taken down to the operating theatre.

I remember an Australian lady and Joan Washington (Sister) taking me down on the lift; i made a comment about the disco lights in the lift (nervous energy!).

I was led into the operating theater and laid on the table. At this point another chap who was administering the drugs noted my DOB was incorrect – born in 1953? That was corrected quickly.

Once the anesthetist came back, he mentioned the drugs and an additional injection in my right thigh to aid the operation. We chatted and had a giggle for 10-15 minutes as their actions were completed. I noted the time was about 11:40am.

The operation was to cut below the shin on the right leg. A wedge 11mm wide would be cut out. A bone graft applied. The gap create in the leg will have metal strips screwed in to support the bone growth to correct my leg.

The drugs took action and i passed out

Coming round after surgery

I came around at about 1:30 and i was in agony – a sawed leg, 2 metal pins and bunch of screws added to my leg. 2 nurses were near by. They talked and administered drugs once they spoke to the anesthetist. I was left downstairs for a while. Once the pain was tolerable, they wheeled me back upstairs. I was glad to see Loiza in the room.I held her hand. I cannot remember if i fell asleep again but i guess it was on and off. They gave me oxygen and connected me to saline and heart rate monitor.

Mr Chatoo then called us to talk about the operation. He said the procedure was on plan and that he was satisfied. This was a relief. Loiza and I reflected and after  a while and then she left for home. I fell asleep again. I remember waking up as Joan was taking my Heart Rate when i complained that i wanted to vomit. I felt that i was losing consciousness and could feel my self sweating and my heart pounding. The Doctor lay me down and i could hear them telling me to keep my eyes open. I was struggling but they pulled me through. After laying flat, i felt much better. My blood pressure dropped due to a reaction of the drugs. At least that gave me something else to worry about rather than my leg.

The pain in my leg is prevalent but didn’t feel like it was sawed, had metal strips and screws put in. the air pumps/ cushion on both legs is helping my blood circulation. Dinner arrived and it was seabass with potatoes. It tasted dry but i finished it so quickly.

Loiza, Aroon and Priya arrived at 7:30ish..if felt like they had been gone for a long time. The  kids made me a card for “Brotato”.

Priya read her “grand designs” magazine with me and Aroon talked about his Physics lecture at school. He mentioned the speaker was very enthusiastic about her subject matter. We sat chatted and i just watched everyone -i was just happy to see them and didnt want them to leave.

Joan came by with her shift replacement and went over my case notes. A shame to see her go as she really looked after me as i came round. She was calm, direct and very precise,

Loiza and the kids left and i fell asleep again. Another nurse came in and administered pain killers. They kept the oxygen running. I was a little impatient on waiting for things but the nurses must be busy. Anyway things went as per plan anyway. Every 2 hours they came in and checked my vitals. The pain was bearable and was able to move my toes. I didnt want to risk moving any more than that.