Peterborough rugby coach becomes the first to receive ground-breaking 'all-in-a-day' knee replacement

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Nico Steenkamp arrived for the surgery and was discharged on the same day.

A former semi-professional rugby player from Peterborough has become the first knee replacement patient to go home on the same day as his surgery as part of a new service offered at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

Nico Steenkamp (39) had his new knee joint fitted under a spinal anaesthetic in the morning and was ready to leave on crutches by early evening - in the first operation of its kind carried out on May 2, 2024.

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Nico headed home to his family after getting a final check from surgeon Jonathan White and the physiotherapy team on the hospital's Birch Ward. His care continued via a new Virtual Ward arrangement - giving him daily access to the team that cared for him in hospital, should he need it.

Nico Steenkamp and staff at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.Nico Steenkamp and staff at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.
Nico Steenkamp and staff at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

The pioneering new approach to joint replacement surgery aims to help patients recover faster in the comfort of their homes, where they can gently exercise their new joint under hospital supervision, but in familiar surroundings.

Nico, who also coaches rugby for under 16s in Peterborough and used to run 10-15km a day, was impressed with his care and treatment. He said: “No-one wants to lay in a hospital bed. I feel reassured at being just a phone call away from the team who have been caring for me. Despite being awake while the operation was taking place, it was a good experience and the team were great. I was back on the ward at midday and ready to go home by 5pm.

“I am so pleased to have had the operation as the pain from my damaged knee has been hard to manage, even with cortisone injections. I now plan to push on with my rehabilitation and get back to the fitness levels I used to enjoy. Thank you to the whole team who cared for me.”

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Surgeon Jonathan White said: “This new service is the result of great collaboration work between the patients and the teams in Orthopaedics, Theatres, Birch Ward, Physiotherapy and the Virtual Ward team - both in the lead up to, and after, surgery.

“Nico was a model patient as he wanted to mobilise as soon as he was back from theatres and the physio team were able to support him on the ward straight away.

“Previously, patients would remain in hospital for up to three days after this surgery, but our new approach means all teams involved in the care work closely to focus on getting the patient home in time to put their feet up in front of the TV.

“The Virtual Ward team are then able to monitor the patients remotely to ensure their condition remains stable.”

This innovative approach has been planned to pave the way for more patients having surgery such as this to spend less time hospital and be cared for and monitored in the comfort of their own homes.

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