Elbow surgery gives gran new lease of life

Jacquie Edward can do more gardening after her elbow operation. She has thanked all of the medical staff who helped her.
Jacquie Edward can do more gardening after her elbow operation. She has thanked all of the medical staff who helped her.

A former PE teacher from Warkworth has become the first person at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to have an elbow replacement and go home the same day.

Jacquie Edward, 78, admits to being ‘quite flabbergasted’ when she was told that her elbow could be replaced, and was more shocked when she learnt there was no reason why she would not be able to go home shortly after, if all went well.

Having a block anaesthetic, which numbed only the shoulder and arm, alongside a full general anaesthetic at North Tyneside General Hospital, meant that Jacquie was able to recover quicker from the operation.

She also had less pain, meaning she required fewer painkillers, which can make patients feel unwell. Jacquie said she felt fine following her operation and after being checked over by her surgeon on the ward, was given the all-clear to go home that day to continue her recovery.

The ache in Jacquie’s elbow which had plagued her for years disappeared a few weeks after the operation. Thanks to doing exercises at home and regular physiotherapy sessions from the Northumbria team at her local GP practice, it was not long before Jacquie had regained full movement in her arm.

Jacquie, a grandmother of three, said: “I’m enormously grateful for what’s been done, I have no ache and the difference it’s made to my life is immense.

“I was really pleased to be able to go home the same day. I was fortunate that I had my husband at home to look after me.”

While thousands of hip and knee replacements are carried out across the NHS every year, a total elbow replacement is a more recent and much less common operation. In 2016/17, seven were carried out in the Trust and up to now, all have required at least an overnight stay in hospital.

Jacquie had problems with her elbow since she fell on it while demonstrating a gymnastics move to pupils around 50 years ago. Having developed arthritis, the discomfort in her elbow worsened over the years.

She said: “I didn’t realise elbows could be replaced, but I’m so glad that I have had it done. It is amazing to be able to do more gardening and all the things I like to do.”

David Cloke, an orthopaedic surgeon at Northumbria Healthcare, performed the operation.

He said: “Thanks to our position at the forefront of orthopaedic care, we have for a long time been working towards branching out and performing our first elbow replacement as a day-case when we had the right patient.

“We are delighted that this has been achieved and the success of Jacquie’s operation only strengthens the case for making this a much more common occurrence when it is appropriate to do so.”