REVOLUTIONARY ‘super microsurgery’ has transformed the life of Hungerford businessman Peter Joseph.
The 55-year-old sales director, who is fishery manager and water bailiff to the Town and Manor of Hungerford, underwent surgery so complex it is offered by only a handful of surgeons worldwide.
His condition was triggered by nothing more dramatic than an insect bite in 2008 which caused cellulitis, then lymphoedema.
Subsequent, repeated infections were treated with drugs but his condition continued to worsen.
At the height of his illness Mr Joseph was laid up for months with a leg so swollen he could barely move.
Then, world-leading reconstructive plastic surgeons from the Oxford Lymphoedema Practice worked together in theatre for five hours – while he was awake – to overcome his debilitating condition, which affects more than 100,000 people in the UK.
Mr Joseph said: “When I got cellulitis for the fifth time... my right leg continued to swell in size and looked huge compared to my left leg.
“My GP wasn’t sure it if it was blood or skin-related so suggested I get a private evaluation for a definitive diagnosis.”
The Oxford Lymphoedema Practice (OLP) did just that and said he would be a suitable candidate for its super microsurgery.
The pioneering treatment helps reverse the symptoms of the chronic condition and prevents future infections.
Mr Joseph said: “My lymph glands weren’t working properly so there was a build-up of fluid in my right leg, making me susceptible to cellulitis, recurring annually.”
In the operation, ‘super microsurgery’ was performed beyond the limits of human sight, through the use of powerful operating microscopes.
It involves joining together tiny vessels of between 0.2mm and 0.8mm in diameter, using sutures about a fifth of the thickness of human hair thus requiring even stronger magnification, highly-specialised equipment, technical expertise and training.
After the five-hour operation, said Mr Joseph, he noticed an almost immediate reduction in swelling.
He added: “It was completely painless, very efficient and straightforward.
“They made four cuts in my leg and each scar was 3cm long.”
That was 12 months ago and since then, Mr Joseph has suffered no recurrence of his debilitating condition.
A spokesman for the OLP, Mick Thorburn, said: “His post-op quality of life score has now improved to 100 – from having multiple infections needing hospital-delivered antibiotics to no further episodes of infection, this is a 100 per cent cure.”