Operation life-changer for amputee

JAIME Bertoux, a double amputee from London, had only a local anaesthetic during the first stage of an osseointegration operation at Norwest Private Hospital last week — the first to be performed at the hospital.

"I can't remember some things but I do remember watching them cut my bones and drilling into my femur and taking out my stem cells," he said.

"I had an epidural, but I felt the pressure come up into my chest cavity and the vibrations of the drill going in."

The operation — which implants an endoprosthesis directly into a patient's bone that protrudes to provide an anchor point for prosthetics — is performed in two stages.

The procedure will allow Jaime to attach his prosthetic legs in seconds rather than half an hour.

"It's a hell of a lot more comfortable, a lot more control, a lot less energy that I'll have to use," he said.

"I can't wait."

Bertoux lost both his legs after a car accident in 2003, when the car in which he was a passenger collided head-on with another driving on the wrong side of the road.

While most of his peers were travelling the world, he was in hospital.

He has since made up for it with six months travelling in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, where in January he met his orthopaedic surgeon after having his prosthetics re-fitted at Northmead.

"I take it as fate really," he said. "I've known about this operation for nine years . . . and Munjed is the fastest I've come across.

"He has a 100 per cent success rate and it might be on the other side of the world but hey, there's sunshine and the doctors are brilliant."

Bertoux has been given a DVD of the four-hour surgery to keep.

"I wanted to keep the bones as well, 'cause I wanted to make earrings out of them but they said no."

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