1st knee replacement 16th aug

Posted , 10 users are following.

Hi everyone

I am 43 and had both hips replaced one in dec and other in feb. I know have to get both knees done due to OA. My left knee at the moment is really painful and right not so bad l can't walk long distances but l am mobile now as my hip replacements have been so good.

I am really scared about getting my knees done as my doctor says its a lot.more painful than the hips and for a longer period.

Can l ask for some help?

When l wake up after having it done is my knee in some sort of brace and is the pain really bad.

Do they have you on a morohine pump where you press the button to administer your own dose as they did that with both hips for the day of surgery and the next day then l was put onto oral painkillers.

Does it feel like your leg is a dead weight for the first while like it did with my hips.

How big is the scar and is there a lot of stiches staples or whatever your surgeon uses?

Any advice would be great.

Thanks

Laura x

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    Lors, I'm sure you will get a variety of responses, since we have all had different experiences from all over the world. Most of us will say up front that there is crazy pain, but after it's subsided, most of us have been thankful that we had it done. I'm an American, but I was working in India at the time. At 42 my doctor did an MRI on my left knee and said a total knee replacement (TKR) was the next step. The right knee wasn't far behind. But I wasn't ready to go through with it and most doctors said I was too young. But when I hit the big 5-0, my left knee was in such bad shape, I could no longer bend it as I walk, which caused me some hip and back pain. It was time. I met with the head orthopedic surgeon. He asked how soon I wanted it done. I asked if I could have both done at the same time (this is called a bilateral TKR) and he said yes. In less than 2 weeks I had new knees. The first three weeks were the absolute hardest part. By 6 weeks I was able to go up and down stairs and ride my moped around my city. Less than 3 months I was traveling from India to Thailand and Myanmar. But I wasn't without pain or swelling and still iced and took some tramadol for pain - they don't give you much of anything stronger in India. But, my US friends had much better pain medicine.

    My scars are about the length of my middle finger to my wrist. And I actually had running stitches on both - very odd I thought. My leg did feel a little like dead weight, but I had been swimming and doing quad exercises prior to surgery in preparation. And immediately they started having me lift my leg in the hospital and doing PT. Then my personal PT came to my house 6 days a week for 3 or 4 weeks. I'm now 21 months post op, have very good range of motion and am still very thankful that I did this surgery - even both at the same time. Keep us posted.

    -Mo

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  • Posted

    Laura, we all have different experience,mine was when i woke i had no brace, no bandages,had the lastest thing in dressing no stitches, glued.Had no pain for the first day as full of drugs, really no pain for nearly three days until everything wore off and the given oral drugs. Unfortantly i had reaction to drugs so was put back a few days with starting physio. By the time i was discharged i had my knee at 90degree here in Australia that seems to be the requirement before you leave hospital, I threw the strong pain killers away after two days at home and now just take panadiene forte at night which gives me a reasonable sleep. Discarded the crutch at three weeks and now walking ok, my real issue is with swelling but massaging is all i can for that, the best thing of all was discovering this site where i have read the best advice and made me realize i have to be patiant and it will all come together and that i dont have to beat any records to get there.real people who have had tkr giving real advice.
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  • Posted

    Hi Lors!

    Hips and knees are different, and the surgeries are different, too. What is the same is that, with surgery, the awful ever-increasing pain is gone. Yes, there is discomfort, but THAT pain is a different kind --a HEALING pain -- that DOES lessen due to pain meds, maybe a nerve block, and TIME.

    I had both knees done three and a half months apart in two separate surgeries. They were done by the same surgeon in the same hospital. With my first I had more swelling and my leg felt like a tree trunk filled with CEMENT. My second surgery was on the knee that prior to surgery hurt the most. THIS surgery went so well that I continually was WAY AHEAD of schedule on everything compared to my first surgery. I'm guessing that the three months of PT with Knee #1 with Knee#2 going along for the ride really helped Knee #2 to be more ready for its operation and subsequent recovery.

    My scars are each about a foot long. I had 27 staples in Knee #1 and 29 in Knee #2.

    All told I was in PT for six months with the two knees. My PT was REALLY attentive and adapted exercises for me or completely changed the plan IF I had pain in doing them. She made a HUGE difference in my recovery because she gave me what I needed based on how each session was going, my discomfort level that day, and whether or not I had more or less swelling which often determines how the bending and straightening will go that day. She encouraged me which made me want to KEEP GOING and DO EVEN BETTER. She was coach and cheerleader all in one, and I thrived and succeeded because she really CARED.

    Having a positive attitude going into knee replacement really helped me. I was having SO much pain prior to surgery that I couldn't WAIT to have surgery! After Knee#1 I found that Knee #2 was really holding me back, so I scheduled surgery with #2 even sooner than I had originally thought. I was glad I did. Two good knees without constant pain sure beats what I was dealing with for MANY years prior to surgery!

    My surgeries were June and October of 2015. I am in Ohio USA and am 65.

    Wishing you much success, LOTS less pain and discomfort, and a fast recovery!????????

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  • Posted

    So much depends on where in the world you reside and local protocols. I've Never heard of anyone in a brace only an ace bandage and then just long enough for the initial bleeding to be controlled. Standard for my part of the world , middle of the U.S., is day after surgery to get you out of bed and with assistance walk you to the bathroom then have you sit in a chair for an hour or so. Physical therapy returns later in the day and gets you on your feet moving. Yes, you are in pain but meds are administered around the clock. Dressings are chained the second day and the healing begins. If all goes well you are released from the hospital in 3 to 5 days. Talk to your hospital social workers as to their proceedure for getting you necessary home care items (walker, crutches, riser for toilet, home health care , etc). Here you are automatically sent home with the equipment. I would suggest you go on ama xxx on and look at gel Pac (largest sizes) as quality icing methods will be a huge asset.

    As you will have some time before surgery start working to strengthen your quads. Go on line to you tube and look at the excercise routine for wud care. It will be to your best interest to be in the best shape possible, quad wise. Let us know where you are located and chances are someone on here knows your local system and has gone tgroughbit. Don't be afraid to ask questions as we will become your new family. Everyone here has been through it and understands your mental state now and post surgery. As I mentioned, I'm from the cenral U.S. and I've been through rehab 5 times with 11 surgeries on my left leg. My history is due to a rare tumor and not OA but I understand pain and suffering. This is mental as well as physical and anything you can do to for peace of mind is very important to your overall healing.

    One other thing most of the medical people Don't emphasize enough, starting now become well hydrated. Lots of water daily will help with every aspect of healing.

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  • Posted

    Thanks so much to you all l am in scotland and l am getting it done through bupa not sure if you guys will know what that is. It just means l get it dine at a private hospital and it a bit better than getting it done through our national health service which l would be on a waiting list for god knows how long if l was waiting on getting it done. Its a perk l get through my work as l work in a bank and they give you a benifiy package and one of them is free private health care callled bupa. So the hospitals are smaller and a bit like hotels you get your own room and its quite fancy. I had both my hips done there and the care you get is 2nd to none and they were really good at caring for you. They are good at keeping you medicated if your in pain andcthe PT is brilliant to l can't credit them enough for my 2 thr's. And am happy its the same surgeon that did my hips that is doing my knees. Thank you for making me feel a bit better about getting them done as l feel l have read a lot of people saying its not a good operation and they will have nothing but trouble since they had it done. I have just went through months of recovery from my thr's and a great deal of pain. I feel like l have just came outvof one recovery and am going straight back into another. It is mentally draining when you were used to working full time to being stuck at home mostly since december. I can't wait for the day l have no pain and am not restricted as to what l can do. Am not even sure if l will have my job at the end of it as l will have been off so long but l will cross that that bridge when it comes to it . Think l have just been unlucky with having my hips done then finding out about my knees.

    I hope you can all help me through it.

    Thanks again

    Laura xx

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    • Posted

      Wow Laura, what a wonderful set-up for your surgeries. Honestly, I'm so glad I did this and wondered why on earth I waited so long. My aunt has had both hips and knees replaced and the hip recovery was much faster and easier. But hopefully having gone through it and experiencing the relief, you will be able to keep positive about the knees. Let us know when you are on the recovery side of this.

      -Mo

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  • Posted

    Hi Laura, you have been through so much already and then you knee as well. I am in N.Ireland and went private too due to NHS waiting list, I self funded (took out loan...my 50thhday present which  will pay for till 60) but well  and truly worth it, I have had a few niggles but compared to bone on bone pain before so glad I did it.

    ​My scar is 15cm and had disolving stitches, massive bandage which came off 12 hours post op, and wound covered with  a massve plaster, spinal block with total sedation...no pain when I came too. Any time i started to feel discomfort they gave me more meds. Stayed in bed first day then catheder out next morn and physio started. in clinic 4 days. When you get home rest, rest, take meds regularly, ice plenty, elevate and do your physio,, Sleep is hard so rest during day. My only problem is stiffness I still get extremley stiff. Best wishes

    Sue

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  • Posted

    I had my right knee replaced four weeks ago today.  Because of modern medicine, the pain has not been bad at all.  In fact, I've been off all painkillers except for nighttime aches for about ten days.  Different doctors use different methods, but my doctor chose staples and a waterproof bandage.  Yes, there will be a scar, but that is of little concern compared to the benefits of not ending up in a wheel chair.

    I would suggest you have one knee done at a time.  This is a difficult operation to come back from and I find that waiting to have my other knee done was the right decision as there is a good deal of my body that works correctly while my right knee heals.

    Doing your exercises and physical therapy is key.  I have been using a cane now - only when outside - for over a week and can walk freely inside the house.

    I would be happy to answer any other questions.  I don't know if it matters, but I am in the  US.

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  • Posted

    Hello- - I had  a TKR 10 days ago. I was really scared and was going to cancel the op 2 days before. I went ahead and went forward with the procedure. My Dr woke me up 2 hrs after the op and told me to take off the brace and sit up on the hospital bed and let my legs hang over. It did not hurt at first- I was on lots of meds. I could bend my knee at 90 degrees right after the op. He took the brace off and I never wore it after that. I was on morophine pills every 6 hrs for pain and Oxy ever 4 hrs at the hospital. The scar is about 8 inches long right down the middle of my knee. I now take Oxy every 6 hr. It still hurts but I keep up with my exercises. I start PT in 8 days. 
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    • Posted

      Hi Rob

      Thanks for replying that makes it sound a lot better than some of the bad stories l have heard. I am taking oxy just now 2 a day for the pain in my knees. But l guess they will up my dose after the op. I feel like well l went through 2 hip replacements 8 weeks apart l can do this. I healed very quick with my 1st thr. I never once needed aids to walk after l got home l felt strong enough to walk on my own but when l say that people keep saying oh knee pain is a million times worse. Ok it might be worse but there is pain meds to take l am sure it cant be that much worse than the day after my thr when l was screaming with the pain. I am thinking it must be sore but not that bad that l am screaming everyday. And from what you just told me that sound like l would think it would be. Thanks for putting my mind at rest Rob l am sure l can do this to.

      Laura

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  • Posted

    Hi, I had hip replacement 8 years ago, and feel it was a whole lot easier than my knee, which is 3 months now. The day of the op, I had a spinal block so no dreaded vomiting! Awake and eating my tea meal 4 hours after op. Next day, however!!  Mega pain, Physio came to torture me, it hurt to get out of bed so I cut down on my drinking so as to reduce loo visits, bad idea!!  When I next got up I nearly fainted as my bp had fallen dangerously, and I should know better as I was a nurse.! 4 days in hospital, then home.

    My knee felt OK to walk on, just painful to bed the knee.  I did expect a morphine drip but didn't get one.  If you are in pain in hospital for goodness sakes tell them before it gets hold of you, and keep taking the meds. Don't think you'll look like a wimp.  If it hurts, it hurts!! 

    Pat home, just couldn't get comfy in bed, the weight of the duvet pushed my leg one way or another which transferred to my knee, poor hubby made me a cardboard leg cage!!   I spent the 1st 3 weeks in tears at some point during the day, from either pain or frustration or angry that I'd made myself disabled!!!  But, please don't think I'm trying to frighten you, but after 3 weeks I could just see the light on the horizon, at 4 weeks things were getting better, and honestly, 13 weeks on, I forget quite a lot of the time that I have a bad leg. The scar is about 10" and has already faded to a deep pink. I had a running stitch which just needed snipping. Can bend both knees the same now. 

    What im saying is, although I swore never again, I would have the other knee done if needed, but I'd be prepared for a rough few weeks. 

    Hope all goes well for you, take care 

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    • Posted

      Thanks lucie its fine l would rather know the truth and thats what most people are saying be prepared for bad pain for about 3 weeks before ít then you starts to get better. I am ready l think. I had the morpone pump after my 2 hip replacements and its the same doctor so l wonder if l will get it with my knees.

      Thanks Lucie x

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  • Posted

    Hi, yes if you're seeing the same surgeon I can't see why he would give you a lesser pain reliever.  I only wish someone had told me about the pain beforehand, it's not so much the physical pain but as I had 2 dislocations of my hip, I equated pain with something badly wrong, so as well as the pain I was terrified something had gone wrong.  As long as you're aware it can be a bit hairy, then if it's easier for you, that's a bonus.  Good luck. 

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