Alasdair Santini helps get fencer back on his feet

A fencing expert is back winning medals after bilateral knee replacements at the Bone and Joint Centre.

Andy Thornton – President and coach of Liverpool Fencing Club – thought his fencing career was over three years ago when hereditary arthritis in his knees made any form of exercise or sport virtually impossible.

But now, after two full knee replacements at Spire Liverpool Hospitals’ Bone and Joint Centre, Andy is back competing again.

Andy said: “The arthritis rapidly became a severe impairment not just to my fencing life, but to my life as a whole; from walking my dog to shopping, working or even just standing. Anything at all that required me to put weight on my knees left me in excruciating pain.”

Doctors agreed that Andy needed a full replacement on each of his knees, however, at the age of 49 he was told he was too young for the procedure. Andy told us “this was so frustrating because I needed to be active NOW. I’d just got married, and was looking forward to holidays abroad and exploring the countryside, I needed to be able to walk, to do everyday things like everyone else, not to mention the fact that I missed competing”.

Fortunately I was referred to the Bone and Joint Centre, where Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Alasdair Santini explained that advancements in the materials available for knee replacements meant that he was prepared to consider operating on me – an offer which turned my life around. I got lots of information and was comfortable to make the decision to go ahead with this.

Andy underwent surgery last year, and had both operations completed within six weeks. “Everything went very smoothly with both operations: I even walked to the toilet on my own just hours after my operation which surprised my physiotherapist.

“The staff and support at Spire Liverpool Hospital was fantastic. Sometimes they would push me to exercise harder and sometimes tell me to slow things down a bit, but my confidence and mobility improved much more quickly than I expected.”

Since his operation 12 months ago, Andy has made fantastic progress, and is now running for the bus, cycling and is also the proud owner of a bronze medal from a recent fencing competition. 

Alasdair Santini said: “being too young is a well quoted reason for not offering patient’s knee replacements as if they are too young then they will wear them out and require a revision procedure or even a revision-of-a-revsion. In this case, his knees were so bad that we weighed up the pros and cons and decided that it was in his best interests to replace his knees at a younger age to give him the best quality of life possible. Andy had a high performance zirconium knee called the Journey. In my opinion, this gives an excellent outcome, with a knee that gives high flexion and a more ‘normal’ feeling knee coupled with a high wearing surface that, hopefully, will last him many years.”

Andy said: “Thanks to Mr Santini and the staff at Spire Liverpool Hospital, I have been given a new lease of life and can now enjoy doing the things I love for longer. I may be fully bionic now but I can still show the youngsters a thing or two! I’m not planning any marathons or anything, but if you see someone running for a bus and wishing this could be you, well, it could be”.





Andy on the left

HRH Countess of Wessex visits NSPCC centre in Liverpool.

HRH The Countess of Wessex was in Liverpool on Wednesday 24 April to visit the NSPCC Service Centre in Everton to see how it’s vital services are helping children and young people across the region. Accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Liverpool, Dame Lorna Muirhead, Her Royal Highness was given a tour of the centre by the NSPCC’s regional head of service Bernadette Oxley, and met with members of staff and practitioners to hear about the charity’s pioneering services. These include programmes to protect children under one, a programme to support children in care and one to help children in high risk families. She also met with staff and volunteers from the City’s ChildLine base, who offer confidential, 24-hour telephone and online counselling for children and young people who need advice.

The visit was sponsored by Spire Liverpool Hospital who are supporters of the Hargreaves NSPCC and all of the very valuable work they do.   Bone and Joint Consultant Mr Peter Brownson also attended the event and said ” this was a fantastic event for a very worthwhile charity and I felt  fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet HRH”.

Mr Peter Brownson meets HRH Countess of Wessex at the NSPCC’s Liverpool safe haven for children

Spire Liverpool Hospital’s Director Alison Peake with HRH







Mr Davidson explains new knee surgery in the Daily Mail

The Bone and Joint Centre’s world-class orthopaedic surgeon Mr Davidson explains to the Daily Mail how he uses a new knee surgery technique that allows knee-replacement patients to get back on their feet twice as quickly as traditional knee surgery. The revolutionary surgery is shorter than the traditional surgery and also has a faster recovery time.

To find out more about the surgery please follow this link to view the full article. For more information on the treatments offered at the Bone and Joint Centre or Mr Davidson please click here


New MRI, SportScan and Perform Service Launch

The Bone and Joint Centre is pleased to announce that the new MRI, SportScan and Perform service is now available. Perform is a brand new service that combines medical expertise with leading technologies to allow you to perform at your very best. It was launched on the 22nd March by Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle, professional rugby player Jon Wilkin and Liverpool Football Club player Charlie Adam.

Beth Tweddle, Jon Wilkin and Charlie Adam Open the new MRI

Perform offers the very latest in technology including our Alter-G treadmill. Alter- G is an advanced anti-gravity treadmill that lowers a person’s body weight to reduce impact on their lower body. It is used by many elite sporting teams and orthopaedic surgeons to help speed up recovery from injury and surgery.


SAD Repair

What is a Sub Acromial Decompression (referred to as ASD or SAD)?

The acromion and the end of the clavicle form a bony arch over the top of the humerus. The space under the acromion is called the subacromial space. The structures within the space include the bursa (a lubricating structure) and the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles. Subacromial impingement occurs when bony changes occur either on the under surface of the acromion or the acromioclavicular joint. There is also inflammation in the bursa, which often becomes thickened. There may be some involvement of the rotator cuff tendons.

The operation aims to smooth out the bone, effectively making the space larger and so decreasing pressure on the tendons. The surgeon does this via keyhole surgery and shaves away part of the acromion. During your operation your surgeon will use a tiny camera to look inside your shoulder for other areas of damage. It may be necessary to do an additional procedure at the same time. This might include a rotator cuff repair,or acromio-clavicular joint excision.

What are the risks of having a SAD?

All operations involve an element of risk, these are very small but you need to be aware of them and can discuss them with your doctor at any time.

The risks are complications relating to the anaesthetic, infection, stiffness and or pain around the shoulder, damage to nerves or blood vessels around the shoulder, need to re-do the surgery.

What can I do to aid the recovery process after my surgery?

Your shoulder is likely to be uncomfortable in the first few days post-surgery. This is normal but can be helped by using ice on your shoulder for 15 minutes, 2 times per day or after exercise and therapy. Gel packs, frozen peas or a plastic pack of ice can be used. These must be wrapped in a moist towel as direct contact with the skin can cause burns (cover your dressings with cling film or a plastic bag to prevent them getting wet).

Sleeping can be uncomfortable if you try and lie on your operated arm. We would recommend that initially you lie on your back or on the opposite side. If you lie on your back support the operated arm with a folded pillow under your lower arm. Make sure that your elbow is above your shoulder. If you are on your side then a folded pillow supports your operated arm from your elbow to your wrist. You should also have a pillow between your knees.

Your sling is for comfort only and you can start weaning yourself of it within the first 2-4 days. You may find it useful to continue to wear the sling at night for a little longer if the shoulder feels uncomfortable. It is generally recommended to wear the sling if you are going out to protect your arm.

Posture can make a significant difference to your pain post surgery. Avoid hitching your shoulder or holding it in an elevated position. Also try to avoid slumping or standing/sitting with round shoulders.

In the first few days after surgery you will find it helps to support your arm on pillows with your elbow in front of your shoulder and slightly out to the side when you are sitting down (see picture above right).

When will I be fit enough to return to work?

You can self-certify for the first seven days of sickness. Before you are discharged, a medical certificate (sick note) may be issued by your consultant to cover the expected time off you will need. The time that you can return to work will depend on the nature of your work. If you are in a relatively sedentary job you may be able to return as early as 1-2 weeks after surgery. If your job involves heavy lifting or sustained overhead positions it may take up to 6-8 weeks before you can return. Your consultant and physiotherapist will discuss this with you and advise you accordingly.

How long will it be before I can start to resume my normal activities?

You should avoid sustained repetitive overhead activities for up to 12 weeks. You can usually start swimming when your sutures are removed- breast-stroke is advisable initially. Patients generally return to activities such as golf at about 6 weeks. For specific guidance regarding sport or DIY please speak to your physiotherapist.

If you feel comfortable and have good range of movement you can begin driving 1-2 weeks after your operation. It is advisable to check this with your consultant or physiotherapist if you are unsure. It is important to advise your insurance company that you have had shoulder surgery.

Will I need any follow up appointments?

You will be seen in outpatients clinic approximately 1 to 2 weeks after your surgery. This appointment will be made and given to you before you are discharged from hospital.

If you are continuing with your physiotherapy at Spire Liverpool Hospital an outpatient physiotherapy appointment will normally be arranged within the following week. The amount of physiotherapy you require will depend on your individual progress.

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