“Years of sport left me with no cartilage on my knee; surgery gave me my life back”
Read the story of Schoen Clinic patient Tom, who after several surgeries and no cartilage left to repair, underwent knee replacement surgery performed by Mr Sam Rajaratnam
I've always led an active life; running and playing sports, as well as having a fairly physically taxing job have, however, both played a part in the slowing down of my joints. However, around 30 years ago, when I was still quite young, I sustained an injury to my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) whilst playing squash.
I’ve had three arthroscopy surgeries to keep the pain and mobility issues at bay over the years, but it’s fairly common knowledge that a serious ACL injury is very hard to treat. The pain would rear its ugly head, time and time again.
In my spare time away from the family business, I am a marathon runner. Over time, this was becoming almost impossible to sustain, with me eventually struggling to run five kilometres without my knee swelling and ending up in terrific pain. If I pushed my knee too far, it would certainly let me know about it!
Rather shockingly, my last arthroscopy showed that I had no cartilage left to repair and that that particular procedure was now no longer an option for me. I had a strong feeling that things were only going to get worse from now.
I spoke with my family about what I should do next and who I should go and see, and my Mother-in-law wholeheartedly recommended that I see Mr Sam Rajaratnam at Schoen Clinic in London, who replaced both of her knees recently. She was extremely happy with the outcome of her surgery, and so I was keen to find the same permanent solution for myself.
I made my first appointment with Sam, who I found to be an exceptionally personable and charismatic person. He never rushed me or pushed for a decision, and he gave me ample opportunity to ask questions, all the while maintaining a very relaxed atmosphere in our consultations.
After looking at my scans and assessing my knee, Sam gave me the pros and cons of various options. I could leave my knee alone trying conservative treatment with the probability that it'll worsen over time; he could try an injection to keep the knee going, or I could have a knee replacement.
I had a feeling of which option I wanted to take, but I took a few days to talk it through with my family and think about it.
As my business is in retail, work was pretty much at a standstill during the January lockdown of 2021. I didn't know when I would have this quiet period again so I decided to take the opportunity and have the surgery. And I’m so glad I did.
The whole experience was in a totally different league from what I’ve seen before; in fact, it was a pleasure. Upon entering the hospital, it was clear I was in a really safe space. I could see people being tested for Covid, and the many safety precautions in place to protect everyone.
All hospital staff I came into contact with were first-class; I can't rate them or the hospital highly enough. If I had a problem or even just a query, someone was immediately available – there was no waiting around in confusion like I'd experienced at previous surgical appointments. Even the food was excellent! I now see why the Schoen clinic was voted the best private hospital in the U.K. in November 2019.
After my knee replacement using a Persona Knee replacement, I was able to walk after a few hours. Barry, the anaesthetist, was always available and even visited me in the hospital over the weekend when I was recovering. He and Sam explained everything before and after my surgery really well, and no questions were left unanswered. In particular, both Barry and Sam explained the unique pain-relieving package that they had developed over their series of over 4000 Knee replacements, involving a low dose spinal anaesthetic along with local anaesthetic infusions into the soft tissues and nerve to the leg. This kept me remarkably pain-free during my stay and seems to be unique, as I have heard from others that knee replacements can be painful immediately after surgery.
The physiotherapists started my rehabilitation the same day, and I was walking the corridors by the afternoon. They were very supportive and encouraging, and the whole experience was very relaxed whilst I still felt very well cared-for.
My pain was minimal but what discomfort I did have was very well-managed. I was given all the necessary medication to go home with, which helped me sleep and do the necessary exercises that the physios set me.
Once I got home, I was able to work in the mornings. My job is quite physical so I have had to be careful not to overdo it, but every day is getting that bit easier. Week three, post-surgery, was a turning point for me, and I did see an acceleration in my recovery from that point.
I am now looking forward to the milder weather where I can get out and road-test my new knee. My plan is to buy a road bike, so I can continue my love for covering long-distances. Although my running days are behind me, I am grateful that I have been given a second chance to embrace another sport.
Mr Rajaratnam also offers knee replacement surgery using the ROSA® Robotic-Assisted Technology System.