New hip surgery procedure on offer at Colchester hospital

Orthopaedic team, Colchester General Hospital

Orthopaedic team, Colchester General Hospital - Credit: Archant

A new form of hip surgery has been introduced at Colchester General Hospital – meaning patients from north Essex no longer have to travel to Southend or Cambridge.

Nic Wardle, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Colchester General Hospital.

Nic Wardle, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Colchester General Hospital. - Credit: Archant

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust is only the second trust in Essex to set up a hip arthroscopy service, and has invested £70,000 in specialist theatre equipment.

It is being led by consultant orthopaedic surgeon Nic Wardle, and due to high demand a second colleague Jeremy Parker will also be trained in the procedure.

The procedure uses keyhole surgery during which an arthroscope – a small camera – is passed into the area displaying images on a monitor.

Patients are commonly aged between their 20s and early 40s.

Simon Rae, hip patient

Simon Rae, hip patient - Credit: Archant


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Mr Wardle said: “Often their condition is sports-related and they will present with hip pain, clicking, their hip giving way or restricted movement.

“Hip arthroscopy relieves pain by repairing tears and damage and enables patients to resume normal activities and a good quality of life.

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“Although comprehensive outcome data is still immature, it is thought the procedure has the potential to delay the progression of certain conditions to osteoarthritis and the need for an early total hip replacement.”

A general anaesthetic is used and currently patients spend one night in hospital, although there is potential to provide the procedure on a day case basis.

The operation is followed up with physiotherapy.

Simon Rae, 46, was left with torn tissues and a lump at the end of his left thigh bone which rubbed against his hip socket, thought to be caused by an accident when a car hit his motorcycle while he was stopped at traffic lights in 2001.

The crash left him in excruciating pain and meant he eventually had to give up work in 2011.

In a 90-minute operation Mr Wardle shaved off the lump and removed the torn tissues.

Mr Rae, from Colchester, said: “As soon as I came round I could feel the difference and knew instantly everything was going to be all right.

“I thought I would be using crutches for the rest of my life but now I’m able to take the dog out for walks and have just started to apply for jobs.

“I used to get spasms which felt like being knifed in the groin with a red-hot poker and the simplest tasks, like putting on socks, were a challenge.

“I joked I would only bend over to pick up a £20 note, nothing smaller because of the pain.”

Mr Rae, a former delivery driver, has three children and a grandson Oscar, who is two in July. He can now pick up and play with Oscar whereas before he could only sit with him on his lap in a chair.

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