A STEWARTON woman is recovering from surgery that saw part of her leg shipped around Glasgow while she lay on an operating table for more than 12 hours.

Jan Ritson’s left shin bone was removed in the complex procedure at NHS Golden Jubilee so that a sarcoma could be treated without the need to amputate her leg.

The bone containing cancer was taken on a 20-minute journey in a sterile container to the Beatson where it was treated before being re-packaged and brought back for surgeons to put it back where it came from – inside Jan’s leg.

Jan said: “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.

“But I got my head round it and accepted that’s what it was going to be.”

Irvine Times:

The surgery, led by Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Ashish Mahendra, saw Jan’s shin bone removed and irradiated before being replaced.

The radiation effectively killed the bones, meaning it would no longer receive a blood supply. Clean bone from Mrs Ritson’s fibula was used to bring the tibia back to life.

Mr Mahendra said: “This really was one big team effort by everyone involved and we could not have done this without the teamwork and collaboration when the sarcoma service transferred over to the Golden Jubilee.”

This was the third cancer diagnosis for Jan, who is determined to beat the disease again.

Due to the severity of the tumour in her lower leg, amputation would have been the simplest option to treat the condition, but clinical teams thought they could save it.

Irvine Times: Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Ashish Mahendra, pictured centre left, prepares Jan Ritson's bone for transport to the Beatson for radiation treatment.Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Ashish Mahendra, pictured centre left, prepares Jan Ritson's bone for transport to the Beatson for radiation treatment.

The 71-year-old said: “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.

“I researched Mr Mahendra and was quite happy to put my leg in his hands, as it were, and just get on with the operation. It’s absolutely mind-blowing what they have achieved.”

Jan’s been kept from tending her garden for six months and is eager to get back to it as well as making time for her other passion, golf.

She said: “Getting back to the golf course, and just getting back to normal life and not having to be wheeled about in a wheelchair, would be just magic, wonderful.”