Anyone have or know about knee replacement surgery?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, May 10, 2010.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm deciding whether or not to have it. Last week my knee's CAT scan results came back...pretty much bone-on-bone. I don't have THAT much pain so it surprised me. Now they are sending me to an orthopedic surgeon, but I don't want to have surgery without more information. It sounds like it's a pain, well, in the I am 56 and not sure if I should do it or wait. I can't take strong pain medications as I am overly sensitive to them. I get b on OTC stuff. I am still exercising.

    If I choose to have surgery, I have no idea how I'll get around after surgery. Hub has to go to work so I'm alone. Also, not sure which doctor to go to. I hear some are better than others. And don't know what type of knee I'd want. Problems, problems,

    I have been really healthy for 55 years. Now 56 happens and the ole body falls I'm still healthy, but I do have a lot of arthritis. Did anyone have the surgery? Is anyone putting it off?

    I really appreciate any/all answers as I don't know anybody in real life who has had this surgery and I don't like being rushed. Thanks!
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My step father, future father-in-law, and future Uncle have all had one knee done. They came through with flying colors. I believe they offer rehab facilities after the surgery - to stay for a couple weeks. I think the new knee only lasts for 20 years, so you might want to wait if that is true still.
  3. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Why do you need surgery if you aren't in pain?
    My f i l had both done at the same time. M I L had one done and one hip. Both were in their 80's.
    If the knee is limiting your life then surgery would seem a reasonable choice but if it's not a problem then let it go for a while.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, that's why I asked. They're pushing it and I don't think I need it yet. There's a little pain and I can't work out as vigorously as I did, but it's hardly unbearable. I wanted to see what others thought because I want to make an informed decision. For now I told them that I'd talk to the surgeons, but preferred maybe cortisone shots to surgery.
  5. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    If you aren't in a terrible amount of pain, then you can wait. There are visco-elastic injections like Synvisc and Hylagen injections. They are viscous injections that provide a lubricant into the knee. Typically, orthopedic surgeons will do a trial or two of these first anyway.

    HOWEVER, think about timing. Spring/summer is probably a better time to have it done. No ice or uncomfortable weather; you can wear loose clothing or shorts.....I could go on. Should you need it in say six months, then it's whole other ball of wax.

    As far as getting around, you'll likely spend a week or two in a rehab facility. They won't let you leave without being ambulatory and they usually have you up and walking around right away. You are young and should recover very quickly from knee replacement surgery. Younger people usually recover more quickly and do very well.

    The other consideration is that because you are so young, it is a possibility that within 20 years, you may need revision surgery. Especially with women with osteoporosis, it is a possibility that the rod can loosen. It's a possibility not a definite. Your orthopedic surgeon will go over all of that with you and if he doesn't then get out of there and find another surgeon.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am 48 and need two but they are trying to baby me along for as long as we can. I have needed them for at least the last 5 years. Have you done the arthroscopic surgery to actually see what is going on? Sometimes they can clean it out and do the visco-elastic injection. Thats what they did for me.

    If you arent in awful pain, I would go that route first.
  7. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Janet, most orthopedic surgeons won't do arthroscopic surgery for arthritis of the knees anymore. They did several years ago, but the Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons have recommended against it now.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wow...guess I squeaked in under the wire. I really think it did me some good because my "type" of arthritis really didnt show up on the xrays or MRI's well. My ortho said mine showed up as clear on scans but when he actually got in there it was awful.

    The doctor came out of the operating room and found Tony and told him that he couldnt believe how well I actually got around considering how bad my knees were. He notated my chart that if my scans even showed a tiny bit of problem that it had to be much worse than
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Blah. I'm not in enough pain that I'd even NEED it in six months. I just don't want to damage my knee more. It's bone to bone (moderate to severe they said). Funny, I had no symptoms until this year. I will do anything I can however to stop from having surgery. They say it takes six-eight months before you can drive? Are they kidding? I still have minor kids. And there is nobody to watch me at home. My hub has to work, the kids are in school, I have no family. I'm going for a consult tomorrow. I will see what he says. I have a list of questions. If anyone has suggestions for questions, please let me know :tongue:
  10. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I had the arthroscopic surgery for arthritis several years ago, had the Synvisc injections, and am now stepping carefully with small tears in the meniscus. Noises have been made about knee replacements several times, but my feeling is that as long as I can manage without it, I'll put it off. I'm only 47, and the idea of having my knee replaced every 10-15 years or so is not appealing.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Tell me about it KTmom! I learned to walk again one time and the mere thought of doing it again just sends me into a depression.
  12. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    My Orthopedic surgeon said my knees are bone on bone. I take Hylagen injections and have had no problems for 2 years. I love the shots, i take a serious of three and then go another 6 months. I start to feel a little pain around the last two weeks prior to my shot but not much. I am 43. I will go as long as I can, if I can continue to get around with virtually no pain and have pretty good mobility.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I wonder why they're doing this big rush. I don't have much pain and I'm sure shots will help. I'm going to tell them tomorrow that I want the shots when I need them and I'll wait. I always feel better after I exercise so maybe I'll kick it up a notch. Thanks all!
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    My good friend had a bad fall (slipped on some berries fallen from a bush onto concrete, it was like stepping onto ball bearings, she said) and it totally stuffed up her knee. But because it was a compo matter, it took a few years before proper medical intervention happened (although she should have been operated on when the ambulance brought her in that night).

    My friend's knee was not only bone on bone, but it would constantly dislocate, the patella just wasn't tracking properly and kept slipping out. My friend would have to push her kneecap back into position. It really was a big problem for her.

    She would have been almost 50 when the finally operated. By this time her patella looked like a mere sliver of bone, it had been worn so much. What they did was drill through the patella, threaded the new carbon-fibre tendons through the kneecap (so it can't ever dislocate again) and carefully put her back together. She made a good recovery and is doing fine now.
    She needed to use crutches for a few weeks, so rather than hire the under the arm kind which hurt, she bought a set of canada crutches to use (for about the same cost as a hire fee) and when she no longer needed them, she sold them to me for half price because I needed new ones (my previous ones were ten years old at that time).

    She's still going well, no problems at all with her knee. She's gone back to doing a lot of the home renovations she always wanted to do.

    Another point - she is a very large lady and her weight was also aggravating the problems. But despite this, she has done well. It's a lot easier to lose weight when you need to, if you can move well.

  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Lord...I wish I felt better after I feel like I am dying just walking up my front steps, getting in and out of bed or even bending my legs in bed!
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Janet, this is Last year my knee didn't hurt at all and, boy, we have gone backwards far and fast. Who knows if this will progress? Guess I'll just go day to day.
  17. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    I have a number of friends (some older than me so quite elderly) who have total knee replacements, with artificial knees.

    The protocol these days is to have you back on your feet as soon as possible after the surgery. The shortest I know of was 48 hours! This sounds like brutal torture but it has a rationale which is stop it all freezing up due to inaction. The idea is use it or lose it.

    One, a 65+ lady of small stature but heavy build said that she went from excruciating pain (before) to pain free the day after. Okay the surgical site was sore, you don't go chop-chop without it hurting but the joint itself was painless. Six (?) weeks later after the scars in the surrounding tissue were nearly fully healed she was good, still a bit stiff but moving freer than I had seen her move in months. She had her other knee done about six months later and almost bounced in the door the next time I saw her in the canteen she manages for my train club.

    Marg's Man
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    My father in law has had both knees done. He has done very well with them. He just keeps going and going. Before the surgery he could barely make it up the stairs from the living room to the kitchen (4 steps), much less the full set of stairs to the bedroom. He was having a tough time walking too.

    A lot of the timing depends on how the joint is wearing away and how the arthritis is eating the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis has a different timeline than osteo-arthritis does. Bone density is also a factor. I would recommend going with what the docs recommend, personally. As you are already at the point of bone to bone rubbing, the lack of pain may mean that you have some type of nerve damage. I would worry about that. I know there are arguments for waiting, but often the docs know more details as to why you should /should not wait. I have an aunt who has been trying to wait as long as possible to have her knees done though it has seriously damaged her quality of life. She finally got to the point the docs said that if she continued to wait she was going to end up crippled because there would not be enough bone to attack the new knees too and she will have damaged what bone she has with the osteoarthritis. The surgery was FAR more complex and difficult than if she would have had it done when they wanted her to do it. Her recovery process was very difficult because this also.

    As for help at home, if there is no one to help then your insurance may pay for a nurse or aid to come to you. You can also contact your church (or a local one if you are not a member of one) and explain the situation to whoever runs the Ladies Auxiliary or whatever they call it. Often churches will help people in that situation. At least here they will. You don't have to be a member, though sometimes it helps.
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I had my shoulder injected last week. If you had asked me before the injection where the pain was, I would have said, "my hips, and my right shoulder. And my right shoulder is by far the worst."

    I had the shot, then walked back out to the car. husband was with me. I remember saying to him, "Now my left shoulder is hurting. I hadn't noticed it before, my right shoulder was screaming so loudly."

    And that is it - when you are used to pain, your mind does 'bleep it out' to a certain extent.

    I'm always in pain. When I was put on prednisone, the relief from pain was almost breathtaking. As I was weaned off, the pain began to return and I noticed it more, after it had been absent. I suspect with your knee, if it has worn down to bone on bone, that you are in more pain than you're perhaps aware. And it's not only pain now, but longer-term increase in pain as well as longer-term erosion of the knee, coupled with being older when surgery is carried out.

    If you're still unsure, get a second opinion.