Got referral to Orthopaedic for knee replacement but my BMI is in obese category, need help!

Edited , 13 users are following.

Hi,

I have severe osteoarthritis in both knees. I have had it for the last 10 years. I have recently been referred to an orthopaedic, and I have to choose a hospital in London. My weight is in the obese category because i have had limited mobility for the last couple of years and could not lose weight.

I am really worried about the operation because i have heard horrible stories about it going wrong for people. But I have no choice now because I cannot walk.

I was wondering

  1. if anyone in my weight category had any success, and how long the recovery took?
  2. Are there any NHS doctors or hospitals you recommend?
  3. Is there any thing i should do leading up to the operation?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

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  • Edited

    hello i am heavy and had a tkr last april and am waiting to have the second knee done. follow your doctors and physiotherapists advice . short walks before the operation and carry that on after building up the distance. recovery takes time i am still getting there but dont need a stick. my friend who is heavier than me has had both her knees replaced a year down the line she walks well without a stick. your consultant should advise which hospital is best for you good luck be positive

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  • Edited

    i have had both knees done within the last 3 years. my bmi is the same as you also because i could not do activities for years.

    having my TKRs are the best thing that ever happened to me. i had my second one done in August and went to Costa Rico in Nov. last week i went on a 5 mile hike, longest in 10 years.

    i live in the US so cant answer your hospital questions

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  • Edited

    Hi, I too was classed as obese and had to fight for years to get surgery as everytime my doctor referred me they would refuse due to my BMI. I even wrote to the CQC and they replied to me to say that it wasn't their policy to refuse surgery if someone's mobility is impaired despite their BMI. I eventually found my own consultant who was prepared to do it on the NHS even though it was not my local area. It was a 6 month waiting list but I got a cancellation and had the op after 5 months. Like you I didn't have any choice really, I was in so much pain and my mobility was very restricted. I had managed to lose 4 stone through dieting but then just reached a plateau. The op went fine and I could bend my knee quite quickly. I seemed to be recuperating well but 4 months on although I can walk further ( with a stick) I do suffer with lower back pain and nerve pain in my operated leg which is why I feel I still need my stick for support if walking any distance.

    My consultant was happy with my recovery (saw him before all this pain started)and told me to use my stick for as long as I felt necessary. I am now being referred for physio which I am hoping will help with all my associated pains because my knee actually seems fine, just a bit stiff and swollen at times but I was told that was perfectly normal. I am now on the waiting list to have my other knee done.

    I really wouldn't worry about it, it's got to improve your mobility, just be aware that it does take a long time to heal fully.

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    • Posted

      I am glad CQC agreed with you, and you got it sorted. I really hope the pain disappears. From what i've read around the pain does take time to subside. Thank you for your advice and i wish you all the best!

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  • Posted

    I am overweight ideally consultant would like my BMI to below 30 but no exercise cause poor mobility pain and under active thyroid i wasnt able to i am now 11 week post TKR done spinal i am walking without sticks pain wise ok except night still some pain but much better main thing is try and do the exercises after surgery and try to walk a little before i still a bit to go bit im better than i been for a number of years already dont worry just go for it

    look on line locally or ask recommendations thats what i did

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  • Edited

    So sorry to hear of your problems, its a vicious circle being overweight and unable to exercise . I too have osteoarthritis , knees now being virtually 'bone on bone' . End of September '19 I had full knee replacement and was extremely worried on how it would be !! The one thing i would advise is DO THE EXERCISES pre and post op surgery to obtain the best range if movement .I found an ice bag invaluable ( can use a bag if frozen peas ) for any swelling . I purchased a ice bag from 'The Physio Room' , about £5 and so useful and moulds to your knee . Wishing you best wishes for a speedy recovery and hopefully improve your mobility x x

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  • Edited

    I had a similar situation. It became very painful to walk and i had to have a knee replacement . It was a huge success. You MUST do your physio exercises though to make that happen. I wss sent to a Toronto doctor. Recovery was a bit slow for me. Its major surgery.

    My other knee became painful and i waited ten years to have it replaced . By then there was lots of scar tissue in there.In other words, I waited too long. So although the second TKR worked to kill pain, I can not go up and down stairs that well. If you can lose a bit of weight, it would be a good help but you likely know that already. Good luck!

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  • Posted

    I am in the obese column too. I had a double knee replacement back in 2007. (both on same day). The knees were so bad I had to do them at the same time. One doctor would not operate cause I was too heavy. I asked him if his skills only allow him to work on skinny people. I don't think he liked that. I said if 1/3 of America is heavy, then he should maybe expand his education on it. I had filed a claim against him. He was telling me to go through a gastric bypass before I had my knees done. So I said.... you want me to have one major surgery before I have another major surgery? My results from the claim I filed was great. Another doctor in the answering of my claim said he'd do the surgery. He was awesome! He did a great job. But since then I have fallen and broken my femur. When they put the rod in that they didn't check for other damage to the knee. I told them when I fell that I hit my knee. I KNEW there would be an issue with the knee from that. It took a whole year to get the doctors to undersetand my knee keeps twisting in place. They said too much metal in my leg for them to do any MRI's or Scans. I said.. .how about just believing what I'm telling you. Finally I said give me a new knee. That was had been there for 10 years so it was going to be getting close to it wearing out anyway. I knew there was issues with the inside ligament to that knee. So the doctor gave me a new knee. I asked... so how was that ligament in there? He said.... "that ligament was not doing ANYTHING for you". DAH!! SEE?! Just listen to the patient. We know what we're feeling even though your stupid tests don't show all.

    I'm blabbing this all out to you to show you, that you have to take charge of what's going on in your surgeries and rehab times. The most important thing to remember from the surgery is DO YOU PHYSICAL THERAPY. Don't push it aside. If you do then the scar tissue will take over in that area and you will be left with part of your normal range of motion. Maybe just a small part. The people over at PT... we're like family now. lol. Between them helping me with those surgeries, they have helped me through my 12 surgeries in my hands. (both of them). I had to have both thumb joints removed. Good ol' osteoarthritis!

    Recovery time for me took .... well let me think. I'm actually still recovering. But when I had the double knee replacements back in 2007, I was back on my harley in week 7. (I have my own harley). I can't sit on the back of my husbands cause I can't bend my knees enough to put my feet on the pegs. I am at this time not able to squat down. My knees don't bend that much. They bend about 110 deg. But I too was sort of off my feet for 2 years. It took the doctors a year to process my torn ligament. So I was off my feet during that time. Then after that I was out in yard holding my left arm cause I just had the joint taken out of the thumb 4 days prior. I tripped up from a mole hole and started to fall. I didn't want the surgery arm to hit so that's why I chose to let the knee hit the ground first. Wrong thing to do. Much harder to fix then fixing my thumb again if that happened.

    Ok, I'll shut up now. Good luck. I will be following your story.

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  • Edited

    I don't know what part of London you're in, but I had both my knees done at the South West London Elective Orthopaedic Centre in Epsom. It's a centre of excellence that takes people from all over the country and there were a few larger ladies there this time. Have a look at their website. I couldn't fault the care I had. I attended a pre-op class and was given exercises to strengthen my knees before the op. The other good thing is that because they only do elective procedures your operation is never cancelled due to an emergency. I only had to wait 2 months for each of my knee, although the wait might depend on the surgeon. Mine isn't based there, but operates on his elective patients there as the care is so good.

    I won't give you my surgeon's name because I have heard he's refused to do some knees either because he considered the patient too young or overweight. One of the women in my ward this time said he'd refused her as she fell into both categories, but another surgeon agreed to it. You could ask your GP to refer you.

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