A new service for children’s hip and knee surgery

12 September 2018

Jovel is an exceptionally talented young footballer with the chance of a budding career in the Premier League ahead of him.

Jovel at Evelina London
Jovel at Evelina London

Unfortunately, 15-year-old Jovel suffered a hip injury on the pitch which meant he could no longer play. Now, thanks to your support, he is back in the game! Jovel is one of the first children to have keyhole surgery at Evelina London with new surgical equipment, which has been bought with the help of donations.

A new service for a growing demand

Rising numbers of children are suffering from knee and hip injuries due to the increasing popularity of competitive sports. These injuries need to be treated in a dedicated environment by specialists in treating children.

‘It has already begun to transform the way we manage cases of hip and knee injuries in children and adolescents to meet their unique needs,’ says Michail Kokkinakis, a consultant children's orthopaedic surgeon.

‘We treat them in a different way from adults because children are still growing, so it is vital to avoid problems with their growth in future. In the last year the number of referrals has trebled and 31 patients had keyhole hip or knee surgery at Evelina London in 2017 compared with only eight patients in 2016.

‘Thanks to the new service, we are able to treat an increasing number of young patients to meet a growing demand for it.’

Leading the way at Evelina London

Thanks to donations, Evelina London is the first children’s hospital in London and the south-east of England to provide keyhole hip and knee surgery to under-16s.

Keyhole surgery is a common procedure for adults, and is used to remove or repair damaged cartilage, torn ligaments and inflamed tissue around joints. Its use in children is developing fast in the UK, thanks to better understanding of children’s joint disorders and advances in keyhole surgery and training.

‘The children experience less pain, there’s minimum scarring and fast recovery with quick return to sports, which is vital for this highly motivated group of young patients,’ explains Michail.

Jovel’s motivation

‘You can’t describe something you love with so much passion in words,’ says Jovel. ‘It’s just something you love, and you can only show how much you love it when you do it.’

When Jovel hurt his hip, the timing couldn’t have been worse.

‘I had just been spotted by a talent scout and offered a trial with a Premier League club. I was really worried the injury would ruin my chances.
‘But Evelina London got me back on the pitch in record time. I had my operation in September and by January I was back training and free from pain.’

Michail wrote a letter for the club, explaining how long it would be before Jovel was likely to be fit enough to make the trial. Luckily, they were happy to wait!

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