Meet the patients: Julie

Replacing a rotating wrist

Southampton is also one of the UK's leading centres for replacing the rotating joint at the base of the wrist, called the ulnar head. These rare operations can only be offered because Southampton is a teaching hospital with specialised staff and a large catchment area that spreads across Wessex, the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands.

Julie, 68, had rheumatoid arthritis that developed in both hands left her unable to grip. She couldn't lift things, couldn't cut up her own food, took painkillers every day and had to wear wrist guards to drive.

But today, the pain has vanished and the 68-year-old from Bassett, Southampton, is as mobile as ever – thanks to a new ceramic-titanium rotating wrist joint.

The new joint, called the ulnar head, restores the unique rotating movement of the wrist. UHS surgeon David Warwick also inserted a titanium fusion plate across her wrist to solve the excruciating pain.

Now, Julia can lift things without thinking about it and go skiing again. She says: "It feels like I've got a completely new life."