Archives: Patient Stories

Ray’s bilateral custom-made knee replacements

It’s now 2 and a bit years on since I had both of my knees replaced with you. I am on top of the world… have skied already last year and again this week… and for the first time in my life it’s pain free… I play tennis / golf and trek a lot… in the gym every week and still use a physio every two / three weeks to bend my legs… painful as hell but we are getting to 135/140°… the most I have ever done in 40 years!!!… and I use a PT for keeping the core strong and healthy.

So thanks a bunch for the skill in your hands, eyes and brain.

From one happy ex-patient.


Ray Hazley

Colin’s knee replacement surgery

My name is Colin and I am a 58 year old ex Rugby and Judo Player who works in the City of London.

My knee issues began as soon as I started contact sport in my youth and I had a series of cartilage operation/removals and ligament reconstructions before I was 30. I gave up contact sport but remained a keen DIYer and then took up regular golf in my late 30s. My golf membership came with a gym so I also returned to low impact fitness exercising using a Rower, cross trainer, and bike. However, while I became fitter and more active, the damage to my knees was already done and I started to get arthritic attacks into my 50’s.

While I did not think I would be a candidate for replacement knees, I was lucky enough to have Private Health Insurance, and the initial diagnosis suggested that both my knees would eventually need replacing. On the recommendation of my core fatness adviser (thanks a million Soloman) at Sports and Spinal, I met Ian McDermott for a 2nd opinion. While he was in overall agreement, he sent me away to look closely at the Conformis product, the testimonials, and I also looked up the operation on U-Tube ! Clearly, the testimonials showed me that knee replacements were not just for pensioners. In advance of taking any decision, one thing that Ian was very clear about was that I needed to work like a dog to get ready for the operation and that I needed to work just as hard and remain positive afterwards……………….he wasn’t wrong !

Once I had looked over things I booked and had the left knee operation in late October 2017 and I had the right knee operation in late November 2018………both by Ian and both under the care of London Bridge Hospital which was more like a Hotel than a hospital !

Recovery time from operation to a back to work status (commuting by train to/from London) in both cases was 5-6 weeks which was pushing it but achievable………just make sure you can get a seat in an area where you can straighten your leg because it can be quite painful to keep it bent for more than 15-20 minutes. The first few weeks post operative depend upon how well you can manage the pain. The hospital give you plenty of exercises to do and it is also really important to get a good local physio on board to start attacking the swelling and to start flexing the knee. You will also receive a regular sermon from Ian about how important it is to get maximum bend in the first 4-6 weeks !

In my experience, there was no problem while in hospital because the pain relief is strong and good and the physios are super enthusiastic and helpful but you need to push as hard as you can when at home even if it hurts a bit. Managing pain relief is also an art ! Personally, I found it quite difficult to get on with the codeine based tablets I was prescribed which were strong and made me drowsy but I managed after 2-3 weeks to manage with strong/regular paracetamol tablets. You should be prepared to have a few sleepless nights in the first 4 weeks but the stronger painkillers do help at night (along with a few films on the ipad).

You cannot do the exercises all day of course so I found a few good TV box-sets to help kill the time. I also took regular walks and increased the distance over time to run-in my new knees. After about 3-4 weeks, and when I could just about get the knee to 90 degrees, I set up my bike in my garage on a rolling road and started to cycle about 15-30minutes each day. Once I started this, I think the real improvement began as I could start moving the fluid away from the joint and visit the physio at least twice weekly.

I managed to get back in my car after 5-6 weeks and recommenced golf after about 8 weeks and also got back into regular gym based work and Pilates shortly after that. Driving obviously depend upon whether you can stamp on the brake hard and stop the car so listen to Ian or your physio. You also have to be careful not to overdo things when you feel good. In my experience, the initial exercises result in a reaction by the joint so you need to be prepared to change plans, cancel training/golf, and react to how the joint is behaving. I found that taking a lower dose painkiller when I started to play golf took the edge off of any discomfort experienced.

I am now playing golf every week and my game is already improving because I am not compensating for weak knees. I am also back in the gym twice a week and walk to and from the train station regularly as well. My left knee is totally pain free and my right knee is almost there and I know it won’t be long before it is 100%.

I am looking forwards to a fit and healthy retirement in the next years and being able to chase the grandchildren around the garden and have an active and healthy life.

Thanks must go to Ian and his Team, Conformis, and the Staff at London Bridge Hospital along with the post operative care.

But you must also become quite single minded about your pre-hab and re-hab because this is what will impact the pace of your recovery. Make sure you have a positive outlook towards recovery along with the peaks and troughs that will come in the first few weeks. No two knees are the same but I can say that two Conformis knees are better than none!

Colin’s right knee at 3 months post-op.

Peter’s Conformis knee

Hi Mr McDermott, just wanted to give you an update on my right knee, which you operated on 6 months ago, on the 31st of July 2018.

The knee has come on really well since I saw you last. I am pain free and have almost total  movement. It feels as if I still have a small amount of swelling, which I am confident will gradually subside.

Once again I’d like to say thanks so much for the amazing work you have carried out on both of my knees. For the first time in over 20 years I am totally pain free!

Thanks again,

Peter Crossley

Simon’s custom-made knee replacement

3 months in and I feel that it’s all going well, I completed my longest ride yesterday: 49 miles with 4,000ft of climbing.

In other news, I had a weekend away in Provence with the bike. Managed 10hrs in the saddle (3 consecutive rides) and climbed 3500m in total. No repercussions, no painkillers either. The toughest part was the driving there and back. It was so pleasing on many levels.

The only comparison I have is that a friend of mine had a TKR on November 22, 2018. She told me that after 7 weeks her knee was still swelling up after a kilometre walk, she had no increased flexion than at 4 weeks (when I last saw her), about 115deg and she was still taking morphine for pain relief.

Whenever I visited my physio he always said how well I was progressing in comparison to most of his clients.

As for my milestones:

  • I never used crutches once arriving home after being discharged from London Bridge Hospital
  • by Day 7 I could climb two flights of stairs unaided
  • by Day 11 I managed a 130deg knee bend & walked 1km
  • by Day 14 I was driving & walking 2km
  • on Day 21 we lost the dog in Stanmer Park, which resulted in me walking 6.5 km over hilly terrain
  • by Day 29 I was cycling 5km on the flat
  • on Day 42 I cycled 25km wearing cleats again
  • on Day 50 I managed 30km, including a 5km climb at 3% gradient
  • on Day 59 I cycled 75km
  • by Week 12 I was climbing out of the saddle
  • by Week 15 I was cycling for 3 consecutive dsys, in the saddle for 10hrs and climbing for 3500m




Stewart 1-year on from his knee replacement surgery

Hi Ian,

I trust all is well with you and your fine team.

It’s been a year since my new knee “went in” and I thought that you might enjoy this snap of us in Spain walking the Camino. Muscles around the knee still uncomfortable but doing pretty much everything we enjoy.

All the best,

Stewart Wallace

Fiona’s custom-made knee replacement

Dear Ian,

When I saw you four weeks ago [@ 2 weeks post-op] you issued what felt like a challenge: stairs in 6 weeks! Well, here is evidence of stairs at 5 weeks!! I am on the local bird reserve and using hand rails because it was slippy, but very pleased with progress and thought you would be too. The stairs were followed by a 2-mile walk on rough paths. Today I might be resting up a bit!

Next week I will see Aimee Hicks again and we will prepare a six week update for you, maybe some more video. Until then be impressed by the success of your work.

Kind regards,



Julie’s custom-made knee at just 6 weeks post-op!

My name is Julie, I am a 58 year old retired P.E. teacher.  My knee problem started following a broken patella when I was in my 20’s.  Closely followed by a septic arthritis in the joint damaging all the internal surfaces.  I have struggled with pain, swelling, stiffness and decreased ability to straighten and bend my knee.  I have tried everything from physiotherapy, acupuncture, special boots and taking various pills and potions which offered some relief but no solution.  I am a keen sailor, rower, cyclist, walker, gardener and generally an outdoors person.  The pain I was experiencing in my knee was starting to seriously limit what I could do.

I had been to see a knee specialist about four years ago who advised that, as I was so active (despite being in pain) and because of my age and being female that any knee replacement should be postponed for a number of years.

I consulted Mr Ian McDermott after researching on the Internet for a specialist sports knee orthopaedic surgeon.  I needed someone to understand that this was not just about getting rid of pain but being able to continue my active life.  I bit the bullet and made an appointment through HCA.  The rest is history, a total knee replacement. Following the amazing treatment and care at the London Bridge Hospital, the hard work was about to begin, recovery and rehabilitation!

I cannot stress enough how important this is.  Religiously following the exercises and extending them three times a day, I was also seeing a physiotherapist for manual therapy once a week. YouTube has a wealth of videos showing different exercises for different stages of recovery (and it did keep it more interesting).  Yes it is painful and your knee will swell, just remember to ice for 15mins and then elevate for 45 minutes.  This is the investment to reduced pain and increase future mobility.

Six weeks down the line I feel I have got my life back.  Pain free daily activities and back doing the things I love.