Hip and Knee Surgery at the Pretoria Life Wilgers Hospital
Regarded both in the nine provinces and on the international scene as a centre of excellence for hip and knee surgery, the Life Wilgers Hospital, in the upmarket Pretoria suburb of Wilgers, is one of the largest of the 63 private care facilities that, together, make up the prestigious Life Healthcare Group. With easy access from both the N1 and N4 highways, it is also equipped with a helicopter landing pad to enable rapid access to its emergency services, and boasts a total of 360 beds. Of these, 46 are devoted to intensive care patients and 28 for maternity, while a further 10 are reserved to provide the specialised intensive care required by neonates.
Between its members, the establishment’s team of professional healthcare specialists offers services to its patients across a range that covers twenty-two individual surgical and medical disciplines, providing the scope to cope with everything from relatively minor, routine cases to some of the most extensive and complex procedures currently performed anywhere in the country. However, as implied earlier, it is its success in the field of specialised surgery on the hip, knee, and other joints that has been most instrumental in making the Pretoria Life Wilgers Hospital a major target for referrals from practitioners within South Africa, as well as from a growing number of overseas countries.
One of the relevant unit’s more basic responsibilities is to handle general orthopaedic trauma cases, such as the fractured limbs and dislocations that are the frequent result of an accident in the home, on the sports field, or on one of the nation’s busy roads. In addition, however, this hospital’s orthopaedic team is regularly called upon to conduct a wide range of arthroscopic procedures, as well as to provide partial and total joint replacements for patients on an elective basis. These demanding but, frequently, life-changing procedures performed on the shoulder, hip, and knee joints are carried out at the Life Wilgers Hospital in Pretoria under the capable leadership of one of the nation’s most qualified and experienced orthopaedic consultants, Dr Jan De Vos.
When not directly involved in leading the surgical team, he also remains actively engaged in clinical and translational research within his field and has published a number of papers addressing possible measures to improve the safety and effectiveness of various orthopaedic interventions. In addition to founding the South African National Joint Registry, Dr De Vos co-authored the definitive publication entitled Guidelines for Hip and Knee Arthroplasty, which has long been established as a speciality of the widely-acclaimed orthopaedic unit located at the Life Wilgers Hospital.
It has long been the policy of the management of this establishment to remain abreast of all the latest developments in applied technology applicable to the fields of medicine and surgery. As a result, the hospital has become well known for its use of state-of-the-art equipment and techniques for use in the diagnostic procedures and treatments undertaken by its healthcare professionals. In keeping with this policy, the orthopaedic team has always been one that strives to remain among those at the cutting edge of this discipline. That they are successful in this endeavour is more than apparent from the impressive success rate achieved by the hip and knee surgical specialists who operate the orthopaedic unit at the Pretoria-based Life Wilgers Hospital.
The team is strongly in favour of minimally-invasive procedures such as arthroscopy for the treatment of a torn labrum, femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), or for the removal of loose bone and cartilage fragments from these joints that might cause friction and lead to painful movement. Where possible, the team at the Life Wilgers Hospital also prefers to employ a shorter incision in order to ensure a less invasive procedure for use in arthroplasty – the total or partial replacement of a hip or a knee joint with a suitable metal, plastic, or ceramic prosthesis.