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OrthopaedicAug 4, 2022

Surgeons at NHS Golden Jubilee perform first meniscal transplant operation in Scotland

Three orthopaedic surgeons are celebrating after performing the first meniscal allograft transplantation on a patient in Scotland. Two of three – Christopher Gee and Jon Clarke are based at the Golden Jubilee University National Hospital in Clydebank, where the operation took place – and the third is Simon Spencer from Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

Mr Gee said: ‘We are very excited to be able to offer this surgery, as it is the first time this technique has been carried out in Scotland.

‘The procedure tries to restore the cushioning effect of the meniscus, in turn preserving the joints until later in life. There is increasing evidence that it can help with symptoms and reduce the chance of the patient developing arthritis, which can be very difficult to treat in younger patients.'

Photo Credit: NHS Golden Jubilee
Successful transplant said to be a shining example of delivering person-centred care

Power Diary 3rd May 2022
Power Diary 3rd May 2022

Donor graft sourced from US

Mr Gee said that from seven to eight patients in 10 see an improvement in their symptoms after having a meniscal transplant and that more operations were in the offing. ‘There is a lot of evidence to support good functional outcomes, so we’re really looking to be able to provide this procedure for many more people from across Scotland.’

The team sourced a matching deceased donor meniscal graft from the United States. Using a camera as a guide, the team put the new cartilage in place during a keyhole procedure.

The procedure tries to restore the cushioning effect of the meniscus, in turn preserving the joints until later in life. There is increasing evidence that it can help with symptoms and reduce the chance of the patient developing arthritis [Christopher Gee]

Patient's seal of approval

The patient, Matthew Watkins from Inverness, was placed under general anaesthetic. He said: ‘In terms of how it felt immediately afterwards, I could feel something was inside my knee when I was putting weight on it compared to how it felt before when I didn’t have any meniscus in there. I’m glad I had the surgery, I can really feel a difference.’

Mr Watkins is relatively young, and it is thought that the procedure is more likely to be effective on active people aged below 40-45 years. Older patients with severe meniscal issues are more likely to be referred for a partial or total joint replacement. About 25 per cent of hip and knee replacements in Scotland are performed at NHS Golden Jubilee.

Mr Watkins had been experiencing knee pain after having an accident in the gym, which meant he had to curtail his hobbies of mountain biking and hill walking. ‘Basically, I had destroyed the whole of the inside of my knee and damaged the actual bones, so the cartilage had worn away and needed to be repaired,’ he said.

Person-centred care

Christine Divers, director of national elective services at NHS Golden Jubilee, said: ‘We are one of Europe’s largest centres for planned arthroplasty, performing around 4,000 joint replacements each year. ‘The introduction of a new technique like this helps us to deliver person centred care for people who are in extreme pain and gives us the ability to provide the patient with much-needed relief which aids their recovery.

She added: ‘This landmark meniscal transplant shows that we are always seeking to progress and find new ways to increase the quality of life of our patients while continuing to enhance care for the people of Scotland.’

To see a video related to this item, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyJ3cqdtEJQ

For more information, visit: https://www.nhsgoldenjubilee.co.uk/news/press-releases/press-releases-2022/scottish-first-meniscal-transplant-performed-nhs-golden-jubilee

Author: Ian A McMillan
Power Diary 3rd May 2022
Power Diary 3rd May 2022
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