NHS Fife first in Scotland to carry out 12 hour knee replacement

Published: Wednesday 18 Dec 2019

Mrs Sarah Mitchell

Mrs Sarah Mitchell

NHS Fife has become the first health board in Scotland to perform a successful total knee replacement in 12 hours.

Craig Buchanan, from Lochgelly, became the first to undergo the procedure on the 27th of November. The 60 year-old was admitted and discharged within 12 hours, following successful surgery.

The average length of hospital stay for a knee replacement in NHS Fife is around three days; however, day-case patients can be discharged in less than 12 hours to continue their recovery at home.

Currently around 15% of people requiring knee replacement are suitable for day-case surgery.

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mrs Sarah Mitchell, carried out the procedure. She said: “The new method requires a programme of preparation and - instead of using spinal anaesthetic - the area around the knee is numbed. This means patients can mobilise quicker after their surgery, reducing loss of muscle and other associated risks such as clots.
“Mr Buchanan was our first day-case knee replacement and since then we have had another successful surgery. The feedback from Mr Buchanan has been overwhelmingly positive and he says the experience he had compared to his previous knee replacement – where he remained in hospital for his recovery – was much better.”

Day-case knee replacement is the latest orthopaedic innovation to be pioneered in NHS Fife and the health board also became the first in Scotland to carry out successful day-case hip replacement last year.

NHS Fife recently outlined plans for a new Elective Orthopaedic Centre at the Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy. The development, which will be completed in March 2022, will see the creation of a state of the art facility that will host three operating theatres, a 34 bed supporting ward, and associated outpatient facilities. A key asset of the centre will be the inclusion of a day-case bed area of the orthopaedic ward to be dedicated to enhanced recovery patients.

Mrs Mitchell said: “Across Scotland there are around 15,000 major joint replacements carried out every year and we know that the number of patients requiring surgery continues to rise. The new centre will be put Fife at the heart of orthopaedic excellence across Scotland.”


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