I was unaware that the outcome of the infection that I had suffered from a previous procedure had caused the damage that it had. It was Mr Bhat who informed me of the total loss of cartilage within my hand and wrist, he showed me the X Ray results and we were all amazed. It confirmed to me the reasons that I had been feeling the intensive pain.
Mr Bhat broke the news to me at a visit to Gatwick Part Hospital. I was informed that it was my choice to have the operation, the pain I was experiencing was intense, and it could be the solution. Every time I moved my hand and wrist and if I was trying to do something with my hand that required me to use the fingers of my hand I was in extreme pain. On a scale of 1 to 10, I was suffering at least a 7 and sometimes 9/10. I pride myself on having a very high pain threshold but the intense episodes of pain were sometimes hard to bear.
I find taking pain killers quite difficult as they upset my stomach. I found Ibruprofen and paracetamol worked quite well for an hour or so initially but after a while even they didn’t soften the painful episodes. I cannot take any form of Codeine I was in pain constantly from November 2007 until I saw Mr. Bhat and he performed the surgery in January 2009. I was never given a diagnoses for the problem so when Mr. Bhat offered the opportunity to help me I was so relieved although of course I was extremely concerned and frightened.
The pain I had experienced before the operation was constant and it ranged from a dull ache to an intense pain.
I can honestly say that from the moment Mr. Bhat offered me the opportunity to have the operation, although I was concerned, I was so keen to live a ‘normal’ life again. A lot of the things I love to do were thwarted by the pain and discomfort in my hand and wrist.
I made the decision to have the operation as I felt that I had nothing to lose and I trusted the diagnosis of Mr Bhat and I felt he had got to know me well enough to be able to make the judgement that it would indeed change my life.
I was very nervous when it came to have the operation but I was looked after well and recovered quickly.
Every request made by me was considered and I felt the care was centred around me and all my previous worries. Mr Bhat and his team offered exemplary care in every possible way.
The procedure was quick and relatively simple. I came out of recovery feeling relieved and although the pain after the operation was evident, it was so slight if compared to the pain I had been suffering every day.
I was prescribed pain killers but I only took them for a few days. The cast was a little uncomfortable but it was a small price to pay for the lack of pain.
Within one week I felt so much better in myself and within 3 weeks I was absolutely fine. As soon as the cast was removed I quickly learnt to deal with everything in the way I had before.
It is very important to make sure you have a positive attitude to the situation and to the whole procedure. I can continue to help you with that.
Within 4 weeks I was driving and back at work.
I did have a few wobbly moments where I felt as though I had lost a limb, but they were few and far between.
I can honestly say that there is nothing I can’t do that I did before.
I do sometimes find that turning my hand to receive change in a store or sometimes cutting and holding a fork into a tough piece of meat is difficult but I have no other problems.
Most of my new friends wouldn’t even know that I ever had an operation. The scar is so small and neat and I look on it now as a part of my character.
After the operation I did receive 2 or 3 physio sessions which helped, but really just to receive the encouragement that it was all going well.
Since having the surgery in 2009, I never even think or refer to it, as my life is now totally normal. Naturally I had reservations and many sleepless nights but I have absolutely no regrets.
I will do whatever I can to encourage you through this time. Whatever you decide, please be assured that this operation will relieve the pain. You will have a small loss of use and you will feel for a short time that a part of you is taken away, then you will move on and see that it is a great release and a way back to living a normal life free from pain.
TENNIS ELBOW SURGERY
I have recently been a patient of Mr Bhat for Tennis Elbow and have had Tennis Elbow Release surgery. Mr Bhat requested if I would mind writing to you my experience of suffering and having surgery for tennis elbow for other sufferers.
I first suffered pain in my elbow very soon after the birth of my daughter in April 2008. The first sign of pain was around October 2008. I put up with this pain for a couple of months before seeking advice and treatment from my physio. I had a course of physiotherapy which helped and eased the pain. The pain soon returned in the summer of 2009 and I returned to my physiotherapist again who adviced an elbow support. We had discussed surgery but was advised that this was really a last resort and to persevere with physio and the support. The pain had increased over Xmas 2009 and in the January of 2010 I sought help from my GP as it was become increasingly hard to bend, lift, stretch my arm. My GP gave me my first cortisone injection. The injection was uncomfortable but within 3 days the pain had completely disappeared. I experienced total relief until around October 2010 and then felt the odd twinge of pain in my elbow again. By Xmas 2010 the pain had returned but was much worse. I returned to my GP in January 2011 and he agreed, along with further physio to give me another cortisone injection. Again I experienced instant relief but this time only for 3 months. By April the pain was unbearable again. It had got to the point where I could hardly put a fork to my mouth to feed myself, I could not brush my teeth, brush my hair – I had hardly any mobility in my arm. I was in tears most of the time with the pain. Fortunately, I had private health through my employer so finally decided to seek advice regarding surgery. I was referred to Mr Bhat and had an initial consultation with him in June 2011. Mr Bhat suggested a final cortisone injection to try it one more time, just in case it had been given incorrectly previously. I agreed, with a follow up appoint. 6 weeks later in August. This last cortisone injection had no affect at all. By the time I returned to Mr Bhat in August I could not use my arm at all. Between Mr Bhat and myself we decided that surgery was my only option at this stage. He had an available slot for surgery 2 weeks later.
Mr Bhat was very informative and honest and told me of the pros and cons of surgery. As any, I was advised that there was a very good chance that the surgery would be succesful but also that some people have a slight improvement and some people none at all. To be honest at this stage and with the pain that I was dealing with, I would have tried anything. I was very confident in Mr Bhat.
I was booked in for the Tennis Elbow Release surgery in the middle of August. All the staff and Mr Bhat who perfomed the surgery were brilliant. I went into hospital at 7.30am and was home by 12.30 lunch time the same day. I was not worried or apprehensive about surgery at all I just wanted relief from the pain. I only needed pain killers for 4 days. The pain was just soreness and stiffness of the arm. Mainly discomfort most certainly not pain. I went back to hospital 10 days later to have the dressing removed and steri stips were put on the cut. I then went back for a follow up appoint with Mr Bhat which was 3 weeks after surgery. At this point I had around 60% movement and mobility back in my arm and most importantly no tennis elbow pain! Just bruisiing and soreness from the incision to the arm. Mr Bhat gave me exercises to do at home and was given a further follow up appoint 12 weeks after surgery. It is now exactly 12 weeks to the day that I had surgery and I still have the smallest of tenderness to the scar ( which is about 1 inch long), but I have total flexibility, mobility and use of the arm and I have no pain at all.
Having this surgery was the best thing that I ever did as the pain that I was experiencing and the lack of use in my arm had driven me to tears.
I would recommend anyone who is considering having this procedure done to go ahead and do it. The Spire Hospital, all the staff and Mr Bhat were outstanding.
BILATERAL SIMULTANEOUS CARPAL TUNNEL SURGERY
I had an operation for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in both hands carried out by Mr Bhat on the 14th December 2011.
Previous to this I had been suffering from pains and numbness in my fingers and hands for some months. It had started in my left hand and I had tried a hand splint which relieved the symptoms for a while but these returned. The symptoms also started in my right hand. Mr Bhat then recommended that I have the operation on both hands so I had the choice of one at a time or both together.
I was a bit unsure at first but after speaking to a friend of a colleague who had separate operations she was very positive and I decided to go ahead.
For me choosing to have both hands done together came down to a few of things.
1) It had taken me a while to decide to go and even see my GP in the first place; if I had one hand done I might persuade myself not to have the other one done. This would leave me still with symptoms.
2) I had to have at least two weeks off work and two separate operations would mean double the time.
3) I was going to be incapacitated even with one hand bandaged so although two would be more difficult at least once it was done that was done.
After having the operation I left the hospital with both hands bandaged and two slings which was a cause of much amusement within my family. Once I got home I was allowed to remove the slings but keep my hands elevated.
For part of the first day my hands were still numb from the anaesthetic which meant at first it was slightly easier to do things than it became later. I would definitely say that for the first few days, probably the first week while the bandages are still on you need someone around to help you most of the time.
Sleeping was fairly easy so long as I took painkillers just before I went to bed; in fact it was better than before the operation as the Carpal Tunnel symptoms weren’t waking me up.
Getting washed or having a shower was more of an issue. I had some plastic gloves to keep my bandages clean and dry but turning the taps on and off, wringing out the flannel, squeezing the toothpaste, all these sort of things were difficult.
Getting dressed was another issue but it got better as the week went on as I worked out the best way to do up buttons, hooks and eyes etc. Also because of the bandage I needed to find tops that had wide enough sleeves not to pull as they went over.
Eating and drinking was OK so long as drinking cups were not too heavy and the food was cut up small enough to pick it up just with a fork. I certainly needed someone there to get these items for me as I couldn’t have cooked or lifted a kettle.
The main thing I did that week was to sit and watch television. As it was near to Christmas and I still had some presents to get I did go into town one day with my mother on the bus. This was OK as she carried the shopping and my purse but I did feel a bit vulnerable.
Week 2 and 3
Once the bandages were off this made things easier, this was also because I had got used what I could do the previous week.
Getting washed or having a shower was simpler than it had been. I could manage to turn the taps on and off so long as they weren’t too tight and everything else I could do it just took longer. The main thing I had to remember was to dry my hands carefully and I keep a separate towel for this.
Getting dressed was not an issue but I did avoid wearing thing with lots of buttons. Eating and drinking was also OK as long as it something easy to handle, anything that needed cutting up I needed some help with. By the time it got to Christmas day I was able to eat my Christmas dinner without too much help.
Mr Bhat had suggested that I didn’t drive for three weeks after the operation. I returned to work on the 3rd January as I hadn’t driven my boss asked if I would like him to give me a lift to work all that week which was a very good idea. I would probably have been able to drive but I would not have felt confident. It is a 45 minute journey and after a day at work I think my hands would have aching a little. My job involves a lot of computer work and this proved easier as the week went on.
I was back driving on the 7th January and apart from avoiding the palms of my hands where the scars are this has been fine. It is now nine weeks on from the operation and every week has been an improvement. The only things I find any difficultly with now are opening screw top items if they are particularly tight, lifting heavy objects and putting too much pressure on the scars.
From a personal point of view having the operation was correct decision for me. If anyone asked me I would say so long as you have someone to help for the first couple of weeks having both hands done at the same time is fine.