Two orthopaedic surgeons at University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust have been awarded a prestigious international award in recognition of their work supporting an ankle arthritis clinical trial.
Mr Stephen Bendall and Mr Joel Vernois, both Orthopaedic Surgeons at the Sussex Orthopaedic Treatment Centre at Princess Royal Hospital, were amongst those receiving the Roger A. Mann Award after a clinical paper they supported was presented at the American Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS).
Both surgeons, along with fellow researchers from 17 NHS trusts across the UK, including UHSussex, contributed to this paper, and are the first winners of the award outside of the USA and Canada, since the award was established in 1994.
AOFAS brings together a community of foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons to improve patient care through education, research, and advocacy. The Roger A. Mann Award is given in recognition of an outstanding clinical paper presented at the AOFAS Annual Meeting.
Stephen said: “It was a huge surprise and such an honour for us to be the recipient of this award along with the other surgeons in centres across the UK. I have to commend Julie Newman, our research nurse, who managed this study at UHSussex on a day-to-day basis, playing a key role in helping recruit patients.”
The study TARVA (Total Ankle Replacement Versus Arthrodesis), is a clinical trial led by a team from University College London (UCL) for patients with end-stage ankle arthritis that are considering surgery. When a patient has this condition, the main surgical treatments are ankle fusion, or an ankle replacement.
Both treatments are available in the NHS, and both have been reported to have good results. However, some studies suggest that ankle replacements restore a more natural walking pattern than an ankle fusion, whereas other studies have noted that the need for further surgery is higher with ankle replacements than with an ankle fusion.
TARVA aims to compare the two and sets out to determine which treatment offers better pain free function and quality of life for the patient, fewer complications, and best value for money, by analysing the outcomes from over 300 patients aged between 50 and 85.
Joel said: “The aim of the study was to provide information so patients can make the best decisions about these operations. It’s great to see the results being published and being recognised in this way.”
The group will publish papers on the outcomes of these treatments for this patient group beyond the end of the trial at two, five and ten-years following surgery, so that long term outcomes can be captured, including effectiveness and durability.
Research and innovation are now one of the key strategic themes for University Hospitals Sussex, towards achieving the vision of excellent care every time.
As part of this, the Trust is currently setting the target of widening access to clinical trials and getting more patients and staff involved in more research studies.