North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is the first in the region and one of just a few nationally to perform shoulder replacement operations to patients while they are still awake, meaning patients can go home almost immediately.
Jean Burton, who is 84 and lives in Seaton Carew, is the first patient to undergo the operation. She has various health issues which made her a high risk under general anaesthetic.
Speaking just ten minutes afterwards, she said: “I have had several operations under general anaesthetic and have been unable to talk or think clearly for at least a day and a half.
“But this time I feel wonderful. I have just finished in theatre and I feel great, it’s unbelievable. My family were really worried about it because of my health issues but they had no need to be.”
Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Rajesh Nanda led the operation at the University Hospital of North Tees.
He said: “Jean is a high risk patient to perform an operation under general anaesthetic due to health issues she has with her heart and kidneys. This procedure means we have significantly reduced the risk of any complications.
“But it is not just for high risk patients who it is appropriate for – this helps any patient to recover faster after surgery, leave hospital almost straight away and to avoid any of the common side effects general anaesthetic causes such as nausea and vomiting.
“It’s an incredible achievement and most importantly will benefit our patients.”
Consultant anaesthetist Saqib Aslam said: “A nerve block means patients stay pain free during the operation. Doctors are also able to administer a low dose of sedative during the procedure if needed. We have routinely combined a nerve block with general anaesthesia for patients undergoing shoulder replacement surgery. We now have the capability and expertise to perform most shoulder surgery procedures under block only with the patient awake.
“We are very proud to be the first health trust in the region to perform a full shoulder joint replacement surgery and we are also one of the first in the country.”