PATIENTS across Bournemouth and Poole are taking part in a study of a new device, that could help lower the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots in the leg following surgery.

The neuromuscular electrostimulator, known as a Geko, is being trialled by patients following total hip replacements at BMI The Harbour Hospital in Poole.

It is a battery-powered device, smaller than a wrist watch, which is worn at the knee and triggers the body’s built in mechanisms to increase blood circulation.

The technology is used routinely by athletes to speed recovery from muscle soreness and injuries.

If the study proves successful, the device could replace current post-surgery DVT prevention methods such as compression stockings.

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Mr Robert Middleton said: “Initially we want to look at 40 patients, 20 of whom will use the Geko device only and 20 who will wear compression stockings only. This will allow us to make a comparison of the two. With both sets of patients we will look for evidence of small DVTs in the veins and arteries of the legs before they could grow and potentially become a problem.”

One patient, Jacqueline Darts, pictured, 68, of Ferndown, who has undergone her second total hip replacement in two years, is already experiencing the benefits.

She said: “The Geko is a brilliant alternative to the stockings. The stockings are hot, uncomfortable and a nightmare to put on. The Geko replaces these totally. It was so easy to operate.”

The device is also being used to help other patients in outpatients at BMI The Harbour Hospital, as head of physiotherapy Jonathan Swan explain: “Our outpatient physiotherapy team are using the device successfully on patients who are limited by swelling in their leg.

“The Geko is proving to be very effective in reducing swelling and improving the range of movement and function, it is also helping in reducing pain too.”