Surgery the big decision

Posted , 16 users are following.

After arthroscopy following twisting my knee and suspecting a torn meniscus I was told I needed TKR what a shock that came as ! 

I am 62 years of age 13st 8 lbs ( don't do all that modern metric stuff sorry ) I cycle around 100 miles a week, can run up the stairs no problem apart from a bit of a stinging sensation on thre outer part of my knee just aware of it more than painful 

The surgeon gave the knee a rating of 3 whatever that means ?

So to surgery or not, I am of a mind that why go through major surgery with all the possible implications of good/bad outcomes when I am mobile and in little pain if any at all?

The great unknown to me is the speed at which it may deteriorate, weeks months years I have no idea?

I am sole carer for my disabled Mother so surgery would impact on us both 

Any input would be greatly appreciated as I am at a loss if to proceed or not 

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  • Posted

    If i were in your situation i might think about delaying having a TKR for a bit - could you ask your surgeon for another review in, say 6 months? If you read through the posts on this site, you'll quickly see it's a major op, with a considerable time needed to recover. My GP told me an interesting thing too - that even when an xray shows moderate to severe arthritis of a joint, the patient may continue for a long time to function apparently normally and without pain! This hasppened in my case. Acupuncture might help delay though won't cure. Good luck!
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  • Posted

    Virtually the same thing happened with me, went to the consultant with a torn meniscus, thought I would just need an arthroscopy, he told me he would prefer to do a TKR! I am 65, fit and walk every day , go on walking holidays, yes run up and down the stairs. No pain, apart from an ache after. 10 miles or so. However my consultant said if I had it done now while still fit , strong muscles etc, I would recover better. If I had waited it could have got to the stage where I was in pain, could not walk as well and therefore not recover as well. I am now nearly sixteen weeks since the op and have recovered well. Still building my muscles up but will do that over the summer. I appear to have been quite lucky, hardly ever took painkillers before the op and did not need them from about four weeks after the op. It will be difficult if you are a sole carer especially if you have to do everything?  I still get tired and it takes me longer to do things now. Good luck but I would say sooner rather than later would be better. 

     

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  • Posted

    Daveuk321.

    in my own personal experience, if you can do all that you are doing now, I would hold off. It's not a life threatening condition, so why put yourself through major surgery, when you don't need it right now, usually things do deteriorate then you can decide to do it. It's not a quick recovery and certainly not painless ...

    if you can't get around and are in pain all the time then you don't have a choice and usually those people do well as the pain after surgery is less than what they had but if you go into a huge surgery with little pain, I think you'll be  disappointed  with the results. That's just my opinion,..hope you can come to a decision you are happy with...xx

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  • Posted

    I was a walker....& have two lively dogs. I am one of those that wasn't sure - in fact, when I went for pre-op tests, I actually told them I wanted to wait. I was immediately sent for yet more x-rays, called in to the consultant, & told I needed both doing - even though my pain was, at that time, back to minimal. I am now 64 - it was done last October, & I am one of those stories you just don't want to hear, as I fell into the 10% where things go wrong. I am waiting to see if they are going to do a revision (the whole thing again) & I am in so much pain, I actually want them to do it again. Yesterday I was told it would take 2-3 months as I have changed surgeons (wouldn't you??) & I am now on a waiting list, & I wanted to cry as just the thought of another 3 months of instability & pain makes me shudder. Think very, very carefully. I was the "legs" for my husband, who has MS - now it's reversed. I wish they had listened to me, & cancelled the first op.

    On the other hand, 90% are perfectly fine.

    It's not a decision to make lightly. Sorry to be a doom & gloomer, but we are (they tell us) fitter much longer into our older age,so maybe you could cope longer. By the way, my 1st consultant, 20 years ago, told me I needed them doing back then, but I would have to beg for the operation before he would do it. I so wish I was still in that county & had him as a surgeon/consutlant!

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    • Posted

      See if you can get a TENS unit.  Shop for another surgeon - for sure.  It sounds like you had an infection? I am so sorry.   Medical cannabis helps knees a lot - there are many cannibanoid receptors in the knee making it a responsive site if you can get it there.  A TENS unit must be prescribed from the physician and set up through your PT - try it.  Not super expensive. May help.  I am so sorry for your struggles, I hope it gets better for you.

       

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  • Posted

    I had reviews every year while still working. I had surgery when the xray and pain showed bone on bone. I went for 4 years before needing the TKR I am 70 and after 7 months post op I am able to do most things. I bought a new bike this morning as I can no longer run and need to keep fit
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  • Posted

    Hi Dave,

    I can actually argue both sides of this. I am 36 and 11 weeks post TKR.

    With little to no pain and really active it's easy and reasonable to leave it for a while, especially as a carer. If I was pain free I certainly would.

    However you must bear in mind the sooner you get it done, the easier that recovery should be.

    I have had trouble with my knee for a few years following a fall as a student (that's a whole other story but a badly healed crack turned into osteoarthritis, a rapidly crumbling knee and a large cyst pushing everything out of its way). I was turned away with painkillers constantly and frequently told I was too young for a TKR although I really needed one. Long story but I was in awful pain and incredibly debilitated in my movement when I eventually got to the consultant stage....a year (with no holidays and virtually no life) and several cancellations later, I had surgery.

    Unfortunately due to the deteriation of the entire leg it has lengthened my recovery. My leg is quite bent still, so much so that I may need further surgery to cut off bits of muscle.

    I wish I could of had this done years ago. I know I will need it all doing again at some point but I've been told that as my leg is so bad, I've essentially skipped a few stages (so medically it's like I'm on my third joint). The better condition everything is in, the easier the recovery. That isn't to say it's not incredibly hard at any stage but if it's allowed to worsen, it does have an effect.

    Sorry for the long ramble, I just wanted to put my view into context. At least if you're in good health, you have the time to make an informed decision. I don't expect many people to get to such a condition as I was (I got sick of every healthcare professional I saw telling me it was the worst knee they'd ever seen)...for once a younger age worked against someone.

    Take care & good luck

    Kath

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  • Posted

    That is a real dilemma in which to be placed. First thing would be to line up help with your mother for a few weeks because at best, you'll be doing good to manage yourself. Having that responsibility could cause you and her additional injuries. Without anything going wrong you will still be undergoing major surgery and your entire system will be weakened and will have to recover. I was in very good health at age 65 before the rare tumor hit me. Within 6 months I had to be put under 3 times to have the knee drained and 30 rounds of radiation. I became very weak and had a rough time getting going again. Then came the synovectomy (removal of the entire synovia), then the tkr. I guess what I'm saying, when they start whacking on you, no assurances and you can't go back. Had I not been almost completely crippled with pain I would not have had the 1st tkr. Now I am getting ready for my 11th surgery on this knee next month. I've got a million dollar leg and still in pain And can't walk.

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    • Posted

      Have you tried a TENS unit?  Your doctor can perscribe them. Your PT can show /help you use them.  Also try a reserach-based hypnotherapy program on chronic pain that can help a lot. Gapapenten can also help. I'm sorry you've had such a struggle, truly. 

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    • Posted

      I'm on my 3rd generation TENS unit. Medicare (US) used to allow an upgrade every 5 years but about 18 months ago with our new socialized medicine program, they no longer pay for any supporting parts (lead wires, pads , repairs etc. I had less than a year on my on my newest unit when I needed some new pads and was turned down. The sales rep had a personal inventory so I bought a 1/2 dozen from him and the were very inexpensive (about $1.50 U.S. D each). Then I went back through my old medicare billings and I could see why they quit supporting the program, nearly $50 USD for the same 1/2 dz. Just as a side note, medicare
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  • Posted

    If you aren't in any considerable pain and can have a normal life at present, I would delay it.  I couldn't be on my feet for more than about 30 mins without then being able to bend my knees and in considerable pain before my operations.
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  • Posted

    Hi Dave 

    I have always been active horse riding, walking, working etc, my knee was deteriorating aches and pains. I stopped riding but could manage everything else I wanted to do, then I stopped long walks but why would I go to the doctors I was in my 50's it's wear and tear and I managed. At the end of the day my knee ached and my husband said about time to check it out. 

    Like yourself id had no therapies injections etc. the consultant said tkr!!

    i asked the question, could I do any more damage by waiting ? My consultant said I would know when I needed painkillers and couldn't do what I wanted to do.

    3 years later my leg had started to bow and I was limping but if needed I could have gone on !!

    This time the consultant said the best recovery would be now, still able to bring the knee back to its central core.

    i have many commitments in my life and tried my best to organise myself a 3 month "time out".   My mother who is 85 with good knees - lol lives with me and I am her carer.  She will probably be here  in 10 years time so when is there ever a good time. My knees won't be here! 

    i am 2 weeks tkr and it is going to be slow but everything is in place, and this is "my time". 

    I couldn't change the inevitable but I could decide "when"

    hope these posts are helpful to you.

    Sue x 

     

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  • Posted

    Most people who have TKR's are in a lot of pain before the operation . . seems strange that you are being recommended such surgery when you are mobile, and obviously very active!  I personally would put it off until it begins to limit lifestyle. . Perhaps you could ask your specialist why he thinks you should have it donee now. perhaps he knows more than we do! ( I hope he does!)  As the sole carer of your mother, it would make life very difficult, as you could do with a carer yourself for the first weeks after a TKR!
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  • Posted

    I know most surgeons seems to recommend cycling, and static bicycles, but mine has to be different. . he told me that the biggest enemy of the knee is cycling!  I don't know who is right . . just thought I'd mention it, and 100 miles a week is a lot of cycling!  Mind you, he also told me no swimming when I had shoulder probelms, so perhaps he just likes to be different?

     

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    • Posted

      When he was discharging me from hospital mine told me to buy a skateboard. When I laughed he informed me he was serious. He said it's the best thing for getting movement back in it if you sit with your foot on it and push it back and forth. Seriously I have wooden floors, can you imagine?

      I've went for the plastic bag tied around my foot option instead...classy I know!

      He really was trying to be different.

      I think the cycling thing is probably right if someone has a grinding knee issue, I would think following a TKR it would help but I don't have a clue...I learn something new about knees everyday at the minute 😀

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    • Posted

      Hi Kathryn, 

      I live in Australia & the skateboard is very popular with ou physio's. I found it wonderful as the movement is much smoother . I borrowed one from my grandson when I went home.  If you have polished boards, get a carpet off cut to roll it on.

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