Pulborough pensioner waltzes back to health

As the excitement builds in this season’s Strictly Come Dancing on the TV; a Pulborough pensioner is once again waltzing across the ballroom with his wife, thanks to one of the newest orthopaedic knee procedures now being carried out at BMI Goring Hall Hospital.

Alan Ramsay and his wife Jean
Alan Ramsay and his wife Jean

76 year-old Alan Ramsay, is enjoying long-loved hobbies such as ballroom dancing with wife Jean, gardening, golf and daily two-mile walks with his beloved King Charles Spaniel ‘Jimmy’.

This is a considerable achievement, since just 18 months ago, persistent pain in the knee meant that Alan struggled to walk more than 50 yards.

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Alan said: “In January 2012, I started getting a really bad pain in my knee. I was about to go on holiday, so visited my doctor who thought it may be some muscle damage, nothing too serious.

Alan Ramsay

“However, after my holiday I was still feeling some pain, so I was referred onto a physiotherapist who did an x-ray which revealed that part of my knee had worn away, and that I was getting a ‘bone on bone’ effect, which was causing the pain. Essentially, I needed a new knee.”

For a little while, Alan struggled on, but the pain increased dramatically.

He was unable to walk around supermarkets, mow the lawn, play golf or walk the dog. The bone on bone affect seemed to get worse by the day.

Alan and his wife, Jean, also needed to take a break from one of their great passions of the last fifteen years, ballroom dancing.

Since Alan retired as a finance director, they would spend holidays dancing on cruises, but this came to an abrupt end.

Alan needed treatment, so he went for a consultation with Mr James Lewis, Consultant Knee surgeon at BMI Goring Hall Hospital.

Alan says: “Mr Lewis performed keyhole surgery on one of my relatives, who couldn’t recommended him highly enough, so I was confident I would be in safe hands.”

Mr Lewis talked Alan through all the options available to him. Alan chose to have a custom partial 2/3 knee resurfacing as the procedure was less than a total knee replacement which removes some of the knee’s ligaments, furthermore this is custom made to it fits precisely.

Only the affected area was treated, and the surgery could be carried out as day surgery, so there was no need to stay overnight.

Mr Lewis describes the treatment: “A CT scan of Alan’s knee was sent to America, which was then used to reproduce an implant in the shape of Alan’s own knee, so it should fit exactly.

“This implant preserves the knee ligaments, allowing it to behave more like a natural knee. Additionally, it gives a knee that feels like the patient’s very own. The technology is a quantum leap from off-the-shelf knee replacements.”

Alan didn’t have private medical insurance, so he paid for the treatment himself, money he considers well spent.

Alan described the procedure: “On the day of the operation I went in at 7.30am. The operation took an hour and Mr Lewis visited me before and after surgery to both assure me and make sure I was recovering well. In fact, all the staff at BMI Goring Hall Hospital were fantastic and the treatment couldn’t have gone better. I went home at 6pm that evening could get out of the car and climb upstairs.”

During a follow-up a week later, Mr Lewis helped Alan walk up and down without the need for crutches.

Alan recalls: “Mr Lewis gave me the confidence and assurance that I needed. From that moment on I never looked back. After five weeks, I could walk easily and star jump!”

Mr Lewis comments: “Alan has made great progress with his partial knee. Given his age, he is incredibly active, which is crucial to his recovery. He is going from strength to strength and seems back to his best.”

Now, 18 months on from his initial knee pain, Alan describes his quality of life: “Since my operation, I’ve been able to take Jimmy for long walks - I have no problem walking any distance.

“The lawns can be mown and I’ve started playing golf again, which I was able to do a few months after surgery.

“Also, one of the great things is that my wife and I can now continue with our ballroom dancing after a long break.”

He added: “But best of all, my knee feels just like it’s my own.”