Trauma patients to reap rewards of game changing device
Patients at Teesside are getting to surgery faster thanks to the innovative thinking of The James Cook University Hospital trauma team.
Every year up to 200 people undergo ankle fracture surgery at the Middlesbrough hospital. For some this can mean spending up to a week in a hospital bed waiting for the swelling to reduce to a level on which surgeons can operate.
But now a neuromuscular electro-stimulation device known as a geko is being used to help reduce the swelling to get people into the operating theatre quicker.
The device is more commonly used to help prevent DVT (deep vein thrombosis), but experts at James Cook recognised that it could potentially benefit trauma patients so they teamed up with manufacturers Sky Medical Technology to trial the idea.
An initial study involving 20 patients produced extremely positive results – patients were happy to wear the device and, in many cases, swelling had greatly reduced within 24 hours.
Orthopaedic surgeon Paul Baker is now planning to carry out more in-depth research and to use the device to benefit future patients.
“This could be a game changer for the treatment of swelling for ankle fractures,” he said. “As far as we are aware this has never been used for ankle fractures before.”
Senior sister Stacey Brown said it was exciting to be the first to use the device in this way: “Patients have tolerated it really well and the results have been remarkable.” The collaboration helped Sky Medical Technology scoop a Medilink North West Healthcare Business Award for partnership working with the NHS.