Date: 22 August 2017
In 2000, Mohsan Akhtar was left with life changing injuries resulting from Necrotising Fasciitis, a rare but serious bacterial infection that affects the tissue beneath the skin, and surrounding muscles and organs. Aged just 29, Mohsan had emergency surgery to amputate his leg above the knee. Some years after his amputation Mohsan was invited to participate in a clinical trial that used revolutionary technology to fit a prosthetic limb directly to his skeleton. Father of three, Mohsan, praises the trial for transforming his life.
Looking back Mohsan said: “Having an amputation was devastating. Losing my leg had a huge impact on my life and took a lot of getting used to. I was given a prosthetic limb but often wearing it was painful and I’d end up with skin breakdown. At most I could wear my prosthetic for 5-6 hours. When I couldn’t wear it the only alternative was to use crutches, which was hard on my shoulders and only feasible for travelling short distances”
Due to the nature of his amputation, Mohsan was eligible to be enrolled onto the ITAP (Intraosseous Transcutaneous Amputation Prosthesis) trial at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust. ITAP is a new reconstructive technique and involves inserting a metal implant into the bone of the stump. This metal implant is then used as an anchor so that a prosthetic limb can be attached. Each implant is custom-built so that it fits the patient’s bone.
By using this new and innovative technique researchers hope to improve the comfort, control and feel of prosthetic limbs. Once inserted, the implant then becomes integrated with the bone it has been inserted in to, ensuring a firm bond is formed, preventing infection.
Although initially hesitant to take part in the trial, Mohsan eventually came round to the idea and the ITAP procedure was carried out in 2014.
Reflecting on the outcome of the procedure Mohsan said: “It’s like a miracle really. I had a lot of support from physiotherapists and healthcare staff immediately following the op but now I can weight bear and walk normally. I can even feel the ground beneath my feet. My life has been totally transformed”
I’m able to play cricket with my son and I’ve even gained an ECB level two coaching qualification. I can run my business independently again and the improvement in my family life has exceeded my expectations.”
Considering on the role of clinical research Mohsan said: “I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t had the opportunity to take part in clinical research. So much clinical research is going on all around the country and for so many people it could be the answer they need. I’d encourage everyone to ask their doctors and nurses about clinical research”