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I am 59 and have had pain in both knees for many years now. I used to go to exercise classes but had to give them up as I couldn't do lunges, squats etc., as they aggravated my knees and would then hurt all evening. A few years ago I woke on holiday and couldn't bend my knee to walk. I ended up walking with a stiff leg for a couple of days and then the pain went as quickly as it had come. Over the past year or so I have had sharp pain in the inner part of my knee and something seems to get stuck and I can't put pressure on my knee at all. Only lasts for a few minutes at a time but I've noticed that it seems to happen when I am leaning slightly forward on my knee. I feel really stupid when I'm out shopping on my own as one minute I am walking fine and the next can't walk at all. I went to see an Ortho Consultant about three months ago and he x-rayed the knee and found two fragments of loose bone. I was expecting this as my doctor had also previously x-rayed the knee and found the same thing. I thought he would arrange for me to have an Arthroscopy to remove the bone but instead he looked at the x-ray and told me that I was heading for a total knee replacement as I had lost most of the cartlidge in the medial section. I was really shocked as I wasn't expecting this. I guess I knew I had arthritis in my knees as I have it elsewhere in my body and the pain in my knees had to be due to something, but I wasn't expecting him to say that I would need a total knee replacement in the near future. My mother had her knee done a couple of years ago and she is 86 now. She took a long time to recover and in fact still has limited mobility (some of that is probably due to the fact that she didn't persevere with her exercises). I told him I thought I was too young for this procedure and he agreed. He didn't think removing the bone with keyhole would be very beneficial, I think because he thought I had other bigger problems, and I was too taken aback to say that I would still like the loose bone removed even if it meant further knee surgery somewhere in the future. It might be vanity but I already have a three inch scar of the outside of my knee due to surgery in my early 20's, and my mum's scar is huge and I really don't want that at my age! The other things that really put me off is that some people can't crouch or kneel down afterwards and to me that is being disabled!
Today I did some googling and found a fairly new procedure called Makoplasty which is mainly performed in the States (typical!) It involves partial knee re-surfacing, so a much smaller scar, is less invasive, much quicker recovery etc., etc., Something to give me hope I thought. I think at the moment there is only one hospital in Strathclyde, Scotland who is performing this surgery, but I am hoping that eventually other hospitals in the country will be buying the equipment (robotic arm) and training their surgeons. It is aimed at people of a younger age with mild to mid osteoarthritis which is me at the moment. I don't know whether anyone else out there is in a similar position to me. Perhaps if we all lobbied our doctors they could push for surgeons in the UK to start performing this lesser surgery. To me it makes sense as it can even be done in outpatients for some people, and you can get back to normal activities such as working and driving within weeks rather than months. If the arthritis eventually gets worse of course you can still have a full knee replacement surgery at a later stage.
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