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Orthopaedic Surgery


Treating an orthopaedic injury

Because orthopaedic injuries can happen to people of all ages, from newborns to the elderly and for a variety of reasons, including congenital conditions, trauma, disease and ageing, there is a wide range of treatments available. Treatment choices for orthopaedic injuries – such as facture of the hip, leg, wrist, knee, arm or back – range from immobilising in a splint or plaster to open surgery or even amputation. Recovery times range from a few weeks upwards, depending on the injury.



What can go wrong in orthopaedic surgery?

Sometimes there is a choice between immobilising and performing an operation and sometimes a choice between different surgical techniques. For instance, there are a number of different types of hip replacement. Usually the decision will be made after an X-ray. However, X-rays can be misread or misreported or misfiled, all of which can lead to the wrong treatment or no treatment being given at all. Surgery can go wrong as a result of poor technique or poor choice of surgery, or with the wrong type of joint replacement being used.


Problems that can lead to an orthopaedic surgery claim

  • Damage during arthroscopy
  • Failure to recommend appropriate surgery
  • Infection
  • Misinterpretation of X-rays
  • Mismanagement of osteoarthritis
  • Nerve damage during spinal surgery
  • Poor fracture repair
  • Retained swabs
  • Unnecessary amputation
  • Wrong replacement joints used

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More on orthopaedic surgery

Problems in orthopaedic surgery

Surgery can go wrong as a result of poor technique or poor choice of surgery. The results can be anything from stiffness or pain on movement to catastrophic disability. Further surgery may help or there may be nothing further to be done – either way leaving the patient worse off than they would have been if the correct procedure had been appropriately carried out in the first place.

Disease and ageing

Problems of disease and aging, such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis, are often incurable but can be managed with drugs or surgery. Problems can occur with diagnosis, medication choices and decisions as to when to consider surgery. Poor decisions can leave patients worse off than they would otherwise have been.

Post surgery complications leading to leg amputation – £260,000

Mr Wilson, a long distance lorry driver started to experience pain in his left knee, seven years after knee replacement surgery. The joint was found to be infected he was advised that he required a two-stage replacement procedure, first to remove the original replacement joint and insertion of antibiotic spacers to clear the infection. Once the infection…

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