Need a replacement?

March 1, 2016

There are over 190,000 hip and knee procedures performed in the UK each year, according to the National Joint Registry. While surgery is a daunting experience, it can change your life by reducing pain. Here, Spire Washington Hospital’s consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Patrick Duffy, talks through the options for those contemplating a hip or knee replacement

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I undertook my orthopaedic training in Newcastle and also spent time in Canada and the USA, before coming back to the North East in 2007 to take up a position as a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the University Hospital of North Durham. I love this region. It has a fantastic combination of history and the great outdoors, where I can spend my time with my family, including my two boisterous lads aged two and four.


When do people come to see you regarding hip or knee replacements?

Generally, most of my prospective hip and knee replacement patients have tried most of the so-called ‘conservative’ treatments, including simple painkillers, anti-inflammatories and physiotherapy. It’s quite a personal decision to go ahead with surgery and part of my job is to help the patient come to the right decision for them and explain what is involved.


What does treatment entail?

I’ll meet the patient in clinic and discuss the pros and cons of various treatment options. If the patient wishes to proceed with surgery, then we’ll arrange a date that is convenient for them. I’ll meet the patient again on the day of the surgery with the anaesthetist, check everything is safe to proceed and undertake the surgery. Patients are usually in for around three to four days and once they are safe on their feet, they can be discharged home with walking sticks. By the time I see them back in clinic after six weeks, they are generally walking unaided.


What do you like about working at Spire Washington Hospital?

The staff at Spire Washington Hospital do their utmost to ensure that the patient has a safe and comfortable experience with regards to their surgery, which means I can get on with my job knowing that the patient will be well cared for throughout their stay. The out-patient facilities are excellent and, if I require radiology or physiotherapy support, these are on hand, often without the patient needing to make a second appointment.


What questions should you always ask your consultant before surgery?

Some patients like to know the details about their surgery while others just want an outline of the benefits and possible complications. In general, I think it’s entirely reasonable to ask your surgeon about their particular experience with your planned procedure and perhaps the track record of his or her preferred implant. I would also advise patients to ask their consultant about any particular limitations with regards to their activity after surgery, such as driving and exercise, in the short term, while recovering from surgery.

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