One of our latest medical videos is a 17 minute, in depth look at a total knee replacement operation, in all its surgical detail. The film was commissioned by consultant orthopaedic surgeon and knee specialist, Neil Bradbury and aims to give his patients a clear understanding of what happens when he operates on them.
Research has shown that the more patients understand about what is going to happen to them, the quicker they recover and the better the outcomes. Amazingly, in America a video showing a knee replacement has had over a million views on YouTube! Neil wanted his patients to be able to see the whole operation as well as hearing him tell them what he is doing, why he is doing it and also how knee surgery has evolved over the years. He is one of the most sought after and respected knee specialists in the UK.
To get the final film to do all that Neil needed took a fair amount of planning. We had actually filmed with Neil before; he was one of the contributors in a documentary about the patients’ experience of the main hospital he works in, Circle Bath. We filmed an interview and a knee replacement operation but when we looked back at the rushes, the operating theatre material was quite generic. It looked great but focused more on the general feeling of being in an operating theatre rather than on the specifics of the operation itself.
For the total knee replacement video we needed another approach, the only way to get all the visual information we needed was to cover the complete operation in a close up…. Not for the squeamish! We had already filmed a sit down interview with Neil where he talked us through the operation as well as the background to how people’s knees get to be so worn out that they need replacing. In the operating theatre itself we had three cameras; a mini Go Pro camera attached to the operating light above the table and two moving cameras. We then filmed two complete total knee replacement procedures. The first time the main camera filmed Neil talking us through the operation as he went, while the second camera was hunting for those all important close ups. On the second operation the main camera got more of the close ups while the second camera got some wonderful wide shots and images of the rest of the operating team.
Once in the editing suit it was obvious that this film was going to be something special. I spent 10 years in the Science Department of the BBC, working on medical programmes for much of that time and I had never had such detailed footage of an orthopaedic procedure. Neil’s ‘in’theatre’ commentary was informative and engaging, while the close up detail of something very few of us ever get to see was completely mesmerising.
The finished film is faster than real time but shows people exactly what happens when your knee is replaced. As medical videos go I feel it has moved us on. The descriptive close ups enable the viewer to truly understand what is going on and although at first it might be hard to watch, after a while it becomes fascinating. In some ways it begins to show just how remarkable the human body is but mainly it shows how special the surgeons and teams are that can fix us when we go wrong. You can watch the complete film here: Total Knee Replacement Surgury
Thanks for reading