Post Op Fracture Blistering after Right Total Knee Arthoplasty

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My surgeon didn't come to see me until 36 hours after performing surgery on me.  As such, the floor nurses left me in the leg immobilizer used to transfer the patient from the OR bed to the post op bed, and then finally the bed in your room.  They wouldn't remove it until my surgeon arrived to look at me knee.  After approximately 6 hours I began to feel a pinching and burning feeling that was so intense that I repeatedly called in the nurse and begged for her to loosen the apparatus or take it off completely!  She would not, saying it was for the Dr. to do; and that he would soon be there.  This went on for 30 more hours, and my being in the worse pain I've EVER been in.  When the Dr. arrived (9:30pm, on day 2 post op), he immediately asked "Why are you still in the leg immobilizer", I answered with a curt 'ya, why am I?"  Yes, I was UPSET to say the least.  In short, these "friction blisters" as he called them, were a result of being left in the leg immobilizer for too long, and my leg swelling, doing PT in it, etc...  He was visibly upset with nursing staff.  But, where was he for 30 plus hours - not checking on me that's for sure!  The blisters were big, thick, painful, and full of puss and blood.  They were very close to my incision, and as a result, ended up giving me an infection.  My physical therapy was delayed in how much I could do, thus putting me behind in my bend and straightening, and thus heading me towards needed further potential surgeries.  I also could have lost my prosthesis or leg from infection if my PCP hadn't addressed what he wouldn't do in a timely manner.  He has also didn't prescribe anything for the burns, or even how I should be caring for them at home.  What a mess!  And the pain!  Oh my!  I was already in pain from the surgery, so the burns were only adding to it, as they popped and drained, and refilled, and popped and drained over and over!

I'm adding photo's so you can get an idea of what they looked like.  Has anyone else had this post-op problem, and if so, how was it treated.  I also need to know what kind of pain medications have been used by those having TKA in the hospital, and what they were sent home with.  Please help!  I'm a mess!  

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  • Posted

    Hi Deborah 

    Oh my goodness. I’m so sorry for what has happened to you. 

    Although I haven’t had what you had I just wanted to say try and seek as much help as you can. From GP, physio or pharmacist. I’m sure you are doing what you can though. I really feel for you and thank you for sharing your story and your photos as it may help others who have in the situation. I’m sorry if this isn’t much help but be assured we are here for you to try and help and advise. Are you still in hospital?  Have you got the medication you need now? 

    Let us know how you get on with any help you receive 

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  • Posted

    Hi Deborah nasty looking blisters caused by friction. I don't understand why they would keep a leg immobiliser on you are usually encouraged to get it moving ASAP. It's bad enough having to deal with the pain from the operation and now you have these lovely blisters too. I have seen blisters like these before in my job but we don't usually treat them until they've popped then we use a special dressing. For pain relief I had targinact in hospital but then was left with the medication I went in with when I was sent home which were diclofenac and cocodamol. I went to my doctors and got Tramadol prescribed which was ok for a while until I started hallucinating 😱 I hope you get sorted and get that knee moving soon x

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    • Posted

      Dear Snoozy,

      Thanks so much for the kind words and encouragement.  I am unfamiliar with the medications that you mention other than the Tramadol.  But since the recent push to lower use of pain medications in the US, it seems they have gone over board, and those who truly need pain control after a major surgery, are left to suffer.  My pain was so great that my blood pressures were stroke levels.  In fact they put me on a blood pressure medication, and placed me in cardiac care for 2 days.  The Dr. nor the hospital gave instructions on how to care for the burns upon my leaving (I left 3 days after surgery for home), nor any medications for the burns, only 15 percocets for pain.  I ended up calling my family doctor and she called in an ointment called Silvadine, which felt so nice and comforting after hurting for days!  She also placed me on two potent antibiotics due to the begining of infection.  In short Snoozy, I felt as though I had been thrown under the bus by the hospital and the surgeon!  Very disheartening!  Thanks again for your reply!

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  • Posted

    This is terrible Deborah and why is your wound not covered? Mine was covered all the while I was in hospital. When I went home it was covered until staples come out. Consultant advised to change dressing as least as possible to avoid infection. I was on antibiotics for 7 days. In hospital I was on codeine. Slow releasing morphine and oral morphine and iboprufen. When I came home I had ipobrufen; Zapain which is codeine and iboprufen mixed and oral morphine if required.  Professor who did my op wanted to send me home with Tramadol; I refused as I wont take it; I’m 2 months post op Now and  hardly have ever had to take oral morphine.  Are you using Ice regularly? You poor lady my heart goes out to you. I’m in U.K. where are you? 
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    • Posted

      Dear Trees,

      Hello there!  I live in the US, Phoenix, Arizona.  My wounds were uncovered for the photo's and also because I would allow my burns to have air for about 30 minuites each 5-6 hours.  During that time, I would clean up any leakage from them (blood, pus, etc..), and clean with an antimicrobial soap.  Since I began to show signs of infection, my family doctor jumped in and got me on strong antibiotics and a cream for the burns. Yes, I used ice regularly, as I had tons of swelling.

      Thanks so much for your sympathy and encouragement!  I appreciate your wisdom in the matter, and wish you well with your knee!

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    • Posted

      Please keep us updated of your progress. I feel for you I really do. How long was you in hospital for? I did not have a knee restricter or leg restricter on when I went to recovery. I had a spinal for the op so know that to be absolutely correct, as was awake. 

      I had the machine on whilst in bed that aids circulation as didn’t have stockings on. Did surgeon not give you an injection of strong antibiotics during surgery ? 

      I do think you have a law suit on your hands now. Here is hoping that youndo not have to have additional surgery. Good luck and wishing you a speedy recovery. 

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  • Posted

    Omg Deborah that’s absolutely horrendous.  You poor lady, what a dreadful situation to be in!  

    In U.K. where I am the wound is covered and I’m not sure what sort of contraption they had attached to you to cause those blisters but here they lift you from bed to op table and back on a special sturdy canvas like sheet that goes under you. 

    I was sent home with dressings but warned to change it as least as possible until the clips are taken out on the 14th day. 

    I feel so sorry for your awful experience and I think I’d be getting my solicitor involved for negligence, unnecessary pain and suffering and actual bodily harm! Good that you have photographic evidence. 

    I pray you heal soon. 

    Regards J 

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    • Posted

      Thanks JayLo!  Yes, its been a rather scary rollercoaster ride with this surgeon and the hospital in which it was performed.  In fact, I recently contacted a solicitor, as my physical therapist has warned me that I will more than likely be looking at having further surgeries as a result of this situation.  VERY upsetting!

      Best of Wishes                   

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  • Posted

    Oh my the wounds look sore and painful. Your doctor should take responsibility for all of it. Nurses are not allowed to do anything unless ordered but of course they should have contacted the doctor on call. 

    I have no experience with what is going on with you, but wish you lots of healing and less discomfort

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    • Posted

      Dear Nance,

      Thanks for your encouragement!  I unfortunately had to contact an attorney to talk about my options.  I don't like conflict, especially concerning medical situations.  I really hate how this has turned out.  I will let you know how this progresses, please stay in touch!

      Kindest Regards!

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  • Posted

    Oh, Deborah!

    As I read your story TEARS came to my eyes! It took great courage to click on your photos because your description of your poor leg HORRIFIED me!😲😩😬 Your blisters look just like those my son experienced when a handle broke on his pot of spaghetti in boiling water causing the water to splash on his right foot just six months prior to his NCAA Track competition! All that came back to me upon seeing your poor, painful leg!😩

    I sure hope that you are getting medical attention for all your injuries! My son's blisters we're attended to at his doctor's office, and a prescription for Silver Cream which was the consistency of Crisco and was applied with a tongue depressor then bandaged with gauze. He was fine and was able to compete several months later, but it was a VERY scary time for all of us. He also had been given oral antibiotics to prevent infection.

    Please stay on this issue! You were VERY SMART to take the photos. The hospital administration needs to SEE THEM. Your doctor needs to SEE THEM.

    Please let us know how you are doing! Please let us know how things go with your hospital, doctor, and physical therapist.

    Sending prayers of comfort and strength today!??????????????

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    • Posted

      Dear Cheryl,

      I'm so very sorry to hear of your sons misfortune!  What a horrible story!  I am glad to hear that he was able to get on with his track competition however!  Kids healing is so much better than ours!  Thank God!!!  

      As for the Silver cream you referred to, yes my family Dr prescribed the same for me once she saw my burns.  She was disguisted with what the surgeon left me to deal with alone.  When she saw that it was in the early stages of infection, she jumped right on that as well... basically saving my leg!  I've been blessed by her!  Unfortunately I've had to contact an attorney/solicitor to look into my options since I have long term problems from this situation.  

      I am grateful for all of your encouragement.  I continue to fight pain issues, but I assume its par for the course.

      Kindest regards!

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    • Posted

      SO glad that you got the care you needed and that you have contacted an attorney!

      Thank you for your kind words about our son. Yes, we we're so grateful that he had such good care after his awful accident with the boiling water! That Silver Cream was SUCH an amazing remedy! We we're thankful for the antibiotics, too.

      I hope that you will have smooth sailing with your continued recovery and that your attorney will be able to set your mind at ease during your interactions with your former doctor.

      Please let us know how things go for you!??

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