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Home > News > Award for pioneering work to treat amputees

Award for pioneering work to treat amputees

Posted on Tuesday 4th December 2012

Dr Selina Sangha, Mr Yogendra Jagatsinh and Niki Tebbutt with a removable rigid dressing

A team from the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle have won an award for their work trialling a pioneering new way of treating patients who have had a leg amputated below the knee.

The hospital is the first in the UK to trial a new kind of removable rigid dressing which has been shown to speed up a patient’s recovery from amputation surgery.

Niki Tebbutt, Specialist Physiotherapist in Amputee Rehabilitation, heard about new guidelines from Australia and saw a new rigid dressing being demonstrated at a conference in 2010, promoting the use of removable rigid dressings for trans-tibial (below-the-knee) amputation, rather than the standard soft dressings.

Together with Mr Yogendra Jagatsinh, Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine, she demonstrated the rigid dressing to the Vascular Surgeons at the Cumberland Infirmary who agreed to trial it.

Between October 2010 and February 2012, 20 patients underwent trans-tibial amputation. Of those, six patients were fitted with the removable rigid dressing and 14 with a soft dressing, and the recovery of the patients from surgery was audited.

Niki explained: “We knew that rigid dressings had benefits to the patient but previously the only option was to use a plaster cast which cannot be adjusted and makes it difficult to check on how the wound is healing. We found that the new type of rigid dressing helps the patient heal quicker, which means they don’t have to stay in hospital as long, and can be fitted with a prosthetic limb sooner.”

The rigid dressing also means that if a patient falls in the first five days following surgery, they are less likely to damage their stump and need further surgery.

Niki and Mr Jagatsinh, together with junior doctor Selina Sangha, designed a poster to present their findings to the British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine’s Autumn Meeting in Belfast last month. Dr Sangha presented the poster and answered questions from assessors and other delegates, and was awarded a certificate and £100 for the best poster.

Mr Jagatsinh said: “It was the first time Selina had worked on a project like this or presented a poster so she did really well to take first prize. It is a really excellent start to her career.”

The use of removable rigid dressings will now be rolled out to all trans-tibial amputation patients at the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital and the audit is continuing.

A number of other hospitals have expressed an interest in the findings of the study and are now looking at using the new dressings.