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Gran Had Part Of Leg Removed So It Could Be Treated In Different Hospital And Reattached

Amelia Ward

| Last updated 

Gran Had Part Of Leg Removed So It Could Be Treated In Different Hospital And Reattached

Warning: This article contains graphic images and footage

A cancer patient who had part of her leg removed so it could be treated in another hospital and later reattached has said it was like 'science fiction'.


Jan Ritson, 71, had started to have severe pain in her lower back during lockdown, but because of coronavirus, she was unable to get a doctors appointment.

She had breast cancer twice in the past and after she had a diagnosis of a malignant tumour on her left shin bone, she was told the easiest way around it was to amputate her leg.

But the gran wasn't having any of it, instead undergoing a 12-hour op that meant taking part of the bone from her leg off and taking it to another hospital and treating it with radiation. It was then re-attached, all while she was under anaesthetic.

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

After the eight inch section of Mrs Ritson's tibia was removed at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in West Dunbartonshire, it was sent on a 20-minute journey to the Beatson Cancer Centre in a sterile container.

After two hours of treatment with extra-corporeal (outside the body) irradiation, the bone was re-packaged and taken back to be re-inserted into her leg.

Although the radiation treated the cancer, it also effectively killed the bone. This meant it wouldn't get a blood supply. But medics used bone from her fibula to bring the tibia back to life. I don't know about you, but my mind is blown.

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

Mrs Ritson said: "It's like something out of science fiction.

"It's absolutely mind-blowing what they have achieved."

The surgery was captured on video and Mrs Ritson was able to watch the footage from her hospital bed.

She added: "They showed me the part where they removed the bone and put it into the special box.

"It was a bit bizarre, an out-of-body experience."

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

Gran-of-one Mrs Ritson said: "Initially they thought there was no way I could take an operation like that because of my age but that was before I saw Mr [Ashish] Mahendra who was happy to try the operation because I'm fit and healthy.

"I've had cancer diagnoses twice in the past and I knew I couldn't just live with it so I knew something needed to be done, whatever that was.

"It was a little bit daunting, I have to say, knowing that if the operation hadn't worked out that it would mean an amputation.

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

"That really worried me, but I got my head round it and accepted that's what it was going to be.

"Now that it's done I feel wonderful and I'm now in the healing process where I have to do a good job too to make me better and whole, maybe get back to some golf at some point hopefully.

"Before the operation I hadn't been able to do much like gardening or anything so just getting back to normal life and not being wheeled about in a chair would be just magic, wonderful."

Surgeon Mr Mahendra said: "The patient is doing really well so far and is very grateful the cancer is out.

"She is healing well but has a long road ahead and remains under regular follow-up."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: UK News, Interesting

Amelia Ward
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