Man, 57, becomes first person in Britain to be fitted with detachable bionic upper limb
Real-life action man! Amputee, 57, who lost his left arm in a motorbike accident 40 years ago, is the first person in Britain to be fitted with a detachable bionic limb
- Alex Paterson, 57, had his left arm removed above the elbow when he was just 19
- For several years he struggled with traditional ‘socket and strap’ prosthetics
- But new implant inserted into the bone of his residual limb has changed his life
- The procedure also means he is now finally pain-free after a lifetime of suffering
New man: Alex Paterson’s dexterity has been restored thanks to the pioneering procedure
A man has become the first upper limb amputee in the UK to have groundbreaking surgery that has left him with an Action Man-style detachable arm.
Alex Paterson, 57, had his left arm removed above the elbow when he was just 19, following a motorcycle accident.
For years he struggled with traditional ‘socket and strap’ prosthetics, but a revolutionary procedure has completely transformed his life.
The car engineer has had an implant inserted into the bone of his residual limb, the end of which now has an external attachment for him to fix his electric prosthetic arm into.
Known as ‘osseointegration’, the operation was completed in under an hour and Mr Paterson, having spent just one day in hospital, went back to work the next day.
But the idea of the surgery came from an unusual source, after Mr Paterson was tipped-off by his dentist. He’d been attending a conference next door to an osseointegration event – and immediately thought of his patient.
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Before the surgery, the father-of-three had already undergone an innovative procedure to allow him to control his prosthetic arm with his mind, known as Targeted Muscle Reinnervation (TMR).
He now has several different arms which he can swap and change between with ease – one with a hand for everyday use, a grabbing claw one for use at work that has a better grip and one for riding his motorbike.
Mr Paterson, from Hempsted in Gloucestershire, is now completely pain-free after years of suffering.
Relief: Mr Paterson, from Gloucestershire, is now completely pain-free after years of suffering
Pictured with prosthetist James Buckett (L), Alex has an implant inserted into the bone of his residual limb, the end of which now has an external attachment for him to affix his prosthesis
He said: ‘If pain post-surgery is measured from one to ten, then this procedure didn’t even make onto the scale.
‘I’ve not taken a single painkiller for it, it’s been absolutely brilliant. I cannot stress how different life is compared with my life before. There’s no discomfort, no pain. It’s like chalk and cheese.
‘Using a socket and strap system, no matter how good that system is, is uncomfortable.
‘You look at it when you wake in the morning and you think ‘do I have to?’ I think on average I was able to keep it on for maybe four hours at a time.
‘Within four weeks of getting my arm attached to my implant, I’m able to wear it almost the entire day without discomfort.’
He continued: ‘Other pain I had related to the accident has virtually gone. I’m able to be a fitter and healthier person, and my work ethic has improved hugely.’
Variants: He now has several different arms which he can swap and change between with ease
Alex is a long-term patient at Dorset Orthopedic, one of the UK’s leading independent providers of prosthetic limbs.
It was through the service that he was referred for the surgery, which was performed at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London.
The man dubbed ‘Captain Armless’ by his grandchildren says he now feels better than he has in 40 years and has thanked all those responsible.
He said: ‘This is the best I’ve felt in 40 years, and it’s not just down to this surgery.
Before the surgery, the father-of-three had already undergone an innovative procedure to allow him to control his prosthetic arm with his mind, known as Targeted Muscle Reinnervation
‘It’s down to the TMR surgery I’ve already had, to the care I’ve had from the team at NHS Bristol and in recent years it’s been thanks to a brilliant collaborative relationship with the whole team at Dorset Orthopedic.
‘Everyone at Dorset Orthopedic has been absolutely incredible and I cannot thank them enough.’
James Buckett, Alex’s prosthetist at Dorset Orthopaedic’s clinic in Burton-upon-Trent, added: ‘Alex has been a patient of ours for some years and he’s a model example of what can be done with determination, dedication and hard work.
‘Alex has given 100 per cent to every rehab session he’s attended, and we had no doubt he’d achieve huge success with both the TMR and osseointegration surgery.
‘We’re delighted for him.’
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