Pioneering surgery for Hartlepool diabetes patients

Hospital bosses are doing innovative surgery that could save diabetes patients in Hartlepool from having an amputation.

Tuesday, 13th August 2019, 5:30 pm
Patient Nigel Young with pecialist podiatry nurse Helen Warburton and orthopaedic consultant surgeon Paul Mackenney

Orthopaedic consultant surgeon at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, Paul Mackenney, provides a diabetic foot service for patients in Hartlepool, Stockton and the Tees Valley and has carried out the new procedure using an innovative foot frame to fuse the foot to the end of the leg.

The operation, a first at the University Hospital of North Tees, was on patient Nigel Young.

Although Mr Young isn't diabetic, the condition is the most common cause of this type of foot surgery.

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Diabetes causes the nerves to stop functioning. Mr Young faced similar problems to those of many diabetic patients, the foot had detached from the ankle and amputation was a possibility until this surgery became an option.

It is hoped that the use of the new foot frame will provide a breakthrough for diabetes patients who can often lose their feet because of complications associated with the disease.

The surgery was undertaken by Mr Mackenney and fellow orthopaedic consultant Dr Jon Page, from County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.

Mr Mackenney said: "It was a real pleasure to work with Mr Page on this procedure. Diabetes and the complications of the disease are becoming increasingly common and we are looking to lead the way by using this type of surgery as a first line intervention for diabetes patients faced with amputation.

It is widely accepted that mortality rates are high after amputation in these patients. We are looking to introduce this surgery routinely for diabetic patients facing amputation to try to increase life expectancy and improve quality of life for those patients."

The procedure also attracted interest from overseas, visiting orthopaedic surgeon Mohammed Al Shuri from Saudi Arabia who travelled to Stockton to observe the procedure.

Mr Young's progress is being closely monitored by Mr Mackenney and his team.

Surgeons also try to reattach the foot with plates and screws, but this approach carries a significant risk of wound problems and thus infection.