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6th Dec, 2021

'Innovative' knee operation at Northfield hospital is UK first

SURGEONS at Northfield’s Royal Orthopaedic Hospital (ROH) have been the first in the UK to operate using innovative knee therapy.

Now available to eligible patients on the NHS, Spherox is a personalised treatment which has been shown to significantly reduce pain and improve quality of life in patients with cartilage defects.

Developed by German-based company CO.DON, it is developed using a sample of healthy cartilage cells from a patient’s own knee which are then grown into spheroids (spherical balls).

Keyhole surgery will be used to re-implant these spheroids back into the patient’s knee where the healthy cartilage will use them as building blocks to repair itself naturally.

For the first time in the UK, 30-year-old Dan McKenzie, will undergo the operation in Northfield after injuring his knee six years ago when he was training to be a football coach.

Doctors found that not only had Dan torn the ligaments in his knee, but he had also caused significant damage to the cartilage in the joint.

He said: “I’ve been living with this pain for six years now and while there are some days that I find the pain manageable, there are other days that the pain is so terrible that I can’t climb the stairs.

“I feel lucky to be able to try this new therapy under the care of leading specialists at The ROH.

“I’m hopeful that this new therapy will help me get back into sport and perhaps also playing football again one day.”

It is estimated that every year in the UK, about 10,000 people have knee cartilage damage serious enough to require treatment.

Professor Martyn Snow, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at ROH, said: “There are limited options available on the NHS for managing cartilage defects larger than 2cm2, so we are very pleased to have this new treatment option and to be the first hospital in the UK to use it.

“Now that it is more accessible, we look forward to being able to help more patients who qualify for the treatment.”

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