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Leading the way in Orthopaedic Surgery

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Leading the way in sports’ surgery…

World-Leading sports surgeon and SPACE Director Professor Gordon Mackay started a revolution in sports medicine when he invented the Internal Brace. This innovation repairs damaged ligaments in half the time of standard techniques, and without damaging side-effects. The Internal Brace is now the gold-standard, with Professor Mackay treating many high profile professional sportspeople as well as non-sporting patients. 

With the support of Arthrex, Professor Mackay’s InternalBrace has transformed post-operative care, often halving the recovery time to work or sport after injury. The technique was voted one of the most innovative and relevant developments in the field of sports surgery.



The Internal Brace is a remarkable, non-absorbable ribbon which can protect any ligament repair or reconstruction. It acts like a seatbelt mimicking normal anatomy and providing protection only if the repaired ligament is excessively loaded and at risk of injury. This material has been used in over 2 million patients since 2003 and found to be inert with a remarkable safety record. This brace stabilises the joint, crucially allowing patients to begin light exercise within a week.

While exercise is gradually increasing in intensity and duration under the supervision of our physio team, the ligament/tendon grows through the lattice structure of the InternalBrace and then quickly and naturally remodels and, in some cases, reattaches itself to the bone. Because the affected area does not need to be incapacitated, it does not need to be put in a plaster cast, which means minimal loss of condition for the surrounding muscles and shortened recovery time.

As well as quicker recovery time, greater functionality and significantly less long and short-term health implications, and because the Internal Brace technology is relatively simple the operation takes no longer and costs no more than conventional surgery. It also cuts down on post-op physiotherapy with directed and targeted exercise being undertaken earlier than usually possible.

Your initial assessment and any post-operative follow up will be undertaken by Professor Mackay at SPACE in conjunction with our physiotherapy team.  


This new approach results in an accelerated healing time. Instead of taking an average of 16 to 24 weeks to recover full function after a conventional ligament/tendon reconstruction, an Internal Brace will bring that time down to an average of 8 to 12 weeks.

As detailed in the case studies and videos below a number of athletes have made remarkable recoveries.

Top-level rugby player, Rory Hutton, was back playing his first game of league rugby eight weeks to the day after sustaining a severe ankle injury. He had ankle ligament reconstruction plus Internal Bracing.


Team GB bobsleigh pilot John Jackson was only able to compete in the Winter Olympics because he opted for an Internal Brace to repair a damaged Achilles’ tendon.


Famous for his incredible win at the 1999 Open Golf Championships at Carnoustie where he came back from being 10 shots down to beat Frenchman Jean van der Velde, Paul Lawrie remains the last Scot to win a Major. For the last few years though an unstable ankle has frustrated the Scotsman to the point where it looked like his golf career was coming to an enforced end and dramatic reconstructive surgery to reposition and fuse bones, as well as grafting and tendon transfer, would be involved. He declined as the prospect of returning to competitive golf could have been lost.

Professor Mackay researched Paul’s unique golfing injury and, along with fellow surgeons in the US, conceived of bespoke surgery to treat him. Paul was delighted at the chance of recovery and a return to play that InternalBrace surgery offered him and underwent it in October 2018. Follow the rest of the story below


International Netball players who have regained pre-injury levels of function 12 weeks after ACL rupture were treated with the internal brace. MRI has confirmed ACL healing. Preservation of nerve and blood supply with IB fixation and the avoidance of donor site problems could explain the exceptional outcomes. Duration of recovery is determined by the individual and the unique nature of their injury.

After badly damaging his anterior cruciate ligament, former Olympic skier Alain Baxter underwent groundbreaking Internal Brace surgery to repair the damage. His recovery has been astonishing.


The Internal Brace is quickly becoming a standard procedure in skiing and impact sports, especially in the USA, where it is being used in the NFL and NBA

For further information on Professor MacKay and the Internal Brace please follow the links below

Written by Grant Forrest

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