A RETIRED teacher was walking unaided less than 48 hours after a Colwyn Bay surgeon’s ground-breaking robotic surgery to replace her knee, and is now back doing the school run with her grandchildren.

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Muthu Ganapathi has been one of the pioneers of robotic knee replacement in the UK, and his successful treatment of 66-year-old Janet Carroll was his 100th successful robot-assisted operation.

Jan’s active life included walking, cycling and swimming as well as taking three of her six grandchildren to primary school and looking after the youngest, 16-month-old Dylan.

But an arthritic knee had slowed down the sprightly former primary school teacher from Wallasey until she was barely able to walk the half a mile to the school or keep up with little Dylan.


Llandudno drink-driver jailed: ‘no sentence will heal the devastation’

Colwyn Bay fireworks display cancelled ahead of Storm Ciarán

Colwyn Bay teenager with ‘flagrant disregard for court orders’ jailed

She’s back on duty now after a miraculous recovery which saw her walking the day after a 90-minute robotic knee replacement operation carried out under spinal anaesthetic by Mr Ganapathi.

North Wales Pioneer: Orthopaedic surgeon Muthu Ganapathi who has carried out 100 knee replacements with his trusty robot colleague.Orthopaedic surgeon Muthu Ganapathi who has carried out 100 knee replacements with his trusty robot colleague. (Image: Mandy Jones)

In this technology, while the 3D planning is still done by the experienced surgeon, the robot places the cutting guide precisely in the planned position for him to make the bone cuts much more accurately than “eye balling” for traditional knee replacement techniques.

Even Mr Ganapathi, who practises at Spire Yale Hospital in Wrexham and Spire Murrayfield on the Wirral, was surprised at the speed of Janet’s recovery.

He said: “Janet has done remarkably well. She was able to walk unaided in the first postoperative day and was walking essentially normally in the community at eight days – this is not normal after knee replacements.”

Janet, a mum of five, said: “I have always enjoyed being active but had a soreness in my knee over three or four years and it became worse earlier this year.

“It was just wear and tear but I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t really walk or cycle although I could still swim – my knee wouldn’t straighten so I walked with a limp.

“I went to my doctor but it was more than a year’s wait to have the knee done on the NHS and people I spoke to recommended Mr Ganapathi.

“I had an appointment with him within two weeks in April and we agreed a date for surgery in July which suited me fine as it was the start of the summer holidays.

“I went in to Spire Murrayfield on a Monday and had the operation that afternoon and came out on Wednesday morning – I decided to stay an extra day to make sure everything was OK.

“I had an epidural for the operation so I was sedated but was still conscious. I remember hearing a bit of noise but I didn’t feel a thing.

“It was Mr Ganapathi’s 100th knee operation and the operating theatre staff all had cake afterwards.

“I couldn’t have a slice but I was back in my room and having something to eat within three hours and I was up and walking the next day.

“Although I have a six or seven inch scar across my knee it wasn’t as painful as I expected and the staff managed the pain relief very well.

“The next morning the physiotherapist came and I was up and walking straight away, at first with a frame and then with two sticks and I could walk unaided by the second day.

“They said that was unusual – most people take about two weeks but it was mainly down to the nature of the surgery.

“The robotic assistance they use scans the knee in 3-D and gives the surgeon guidelines to cut along before they replace the knee with a new one made of metal and plastic.

“It feels really good and the more I do the better it gets and I can do everything I want to.”

Mr Ganapathi added: “With the personalised knee replacement technique I am doing with the robot, many patients have less pain and recover much faster.

“What I’m aiming for is to match the knee replacement to be as close to how it was before the arthritis and the robotic assistance helps me do the personalised bone cuts.”