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Too heavy = Too scared

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Pre-Op Area' started by flash85, Jan 28, 2011.

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  1. flash85

    flash85 New Member

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    I am very overweight.(about 85lbs) Is there a weight limit on knee replacement? Would a surgeon even consider doing a knee replacement on me? I can't walk for more than 5-7 min, can't stand for more than 10min. I am sooo scared to get the surgery. Can anybody attest to this? I'm even afraid to go to an ortho because of my weight.
     
  2. SportHog

    SportHog Senior

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    Hi Flash85. Welcome to Bonesmart!
    Well, I am also overweight and have had two TKR's 4 months apart. Prior to the surgery, I had great pain walking down even a slight incline. After my recovery, I started working again and as of the last 4 months have been working up to 10 hour days mostly walking and standing and have had no problems at all. Having TKR's was the best decision I have ever made (except for marrying my wife). Don't be afraid to get an assessment and talk to your surgeon. You will not regret that you have gained a happier, pain free addition to your life. I now enjoy my grand-daughters activities, boating, motorcycling, cutting the grass etc. Josephine and Jamie and others are here for you at all times if you have questions.
    Cheers, Ross :chwn:
     
  3. oregpsnow

    oregpsnow New Member

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    You are not too heavy. I have lost 60 lbs but am still about 150 over my ideal weight. My knees are very bad (hereditary) and need to be done before they get worse. I was sent to an OS that only does knees and she had no problem scheduling me for TKR. She did say the hardware will last longer if I lose weight, so now I have real incentive to get serious about it again.

    Get to a surgeon and if necessary look for a knee specialist. If one says no, keep looking. Don't give up, don't get discouraged and don't take no for an answer. Getting your knees fixed will allow you to become more active and be healthier in all ways.

    Let us know how it goes.
     
  4. RestAssured

    RestAssured Forum Advisor

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    Flash,

    Don't let your weight keep you from getting knee replacements! Life is too short to live in pain and you will feel so much better after the knee replacements! I have lost 65 pounds that I have kept off since my first knee replacement and I plan on losing more. I have more energy now, and feel so much better, even though I still want to lose another 100+ pounds!

    Just go into with a positive attitude, and work hard in PT and you will do great!:egdnc:


     
  5. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    Hi, Flash....welcome to BoneSmart! I'm so glad you found our forum and decided to join us. We'll be here to support you in whatever way you need.

    Making the decision to have this life-changing surgery can be quite overwhelming at first. You'll find a ton of information in the Library (link is in the blue tool bar at the top of every page). Also start reading some of the other threads in both the pre- and pos-op forums too. Ask questions....anything!!! Once you have some information under your belt, you'll be in a much better position to talk to a surgeon and make an informed decision about getting your knees fixed.

    As for the weight....it should not be a problem. There are plenty of surgeons out there who can help you. Now your task is to do some reading, a lot of research, and find the right one for you.

    Here are some threads to get you started:

    The importance of managing pain after a TKR and the pain chart
    How Long Does Healing Take ......
    Elevating your leg to control swelling and pain
    Discussion on managing pain in TKR surgery
    Using ice

    It's never too late to get more ROM!
    Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds
    Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it
     
  6. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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    Well, you don't say what weight you are exactly so it's difficult to agree that you are overweight! Your height would be helpful too!

    To reassure you, I recently nursed a lady of 74 who had a knee replacement. She weighed 400lbs and was only 5ft 5inches tall which gave her a body mass index of 65! Mine was 45 when I had mine done. (Normal is 16-20, btw!) Anyway, this dear lady was in hospital at the same time as my sister so visited her almost every day and she did really, really well!

    There are surgeons who will make a big issue out of obesity but there are as many who don't. Find yourself one that doesn't and get it done.

    It is a scary thing, for sure. Even I had the collywobbles and I've been working with this stuff all my life! But somehow we have to see 'over the mountain' to the better life and being able to do all those things we want to do - used to do - and getting our lives back again. It really is worth it. There are enough people have posted in this thread and elsewhere that have said over and over again how it was the best thing they ever did. Read some of the stories in this thread and you'll see what we mean Stories of Amazing Knee Recoveries
     
  7. flash85

    flash85 New Member

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    I'm 5'5" and about 285lbs. I also don't want general anesthesia. I fear a post op blood clot. I am just sooo apprehensive about the whole thing but I cannot stand the pain anymore. I'll be 59yrs old. I was told 20yrs ago I needed TKR but was too young. I also can't imagine the rehab that's involved! Months going to PT? What does the PT involve? Can't it be done at home?
     
  8. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    Welcome, flash85......now that you're a BoneSmartie, we're going to help you get the information you need so you won't be so worried about your upcoming surgery.

    First, no one is considered "too young" anymore to have joint replacements, although you may still hear some surgeons talk that talk. It's high time you are able to start enjoying life! If you needed a TKR 20 years ago, you probably REALLY need one now. It's going to make a huge (positive) change for you.

    Try not to worry about blood clots. They are not a frequent problem and you will be taking blood thinners for a period of time after surgery to ensure that you don't get one. Actually, once you start getting up and around (and you do that really soon), the chances of a clot lessen significantly.

    I don't know who gave you the idea that you must do PT for months. Actually in many countries people do NO PT following hip or knee replacements and they do just fine. In the USA, PT is used more frequently and can go for a couple of months several times a week. Some people like the structure of the therapy sessions.

    But if you prefer, you can learn some exercises and do them at home on your own. Or you can have a therapist come to your house (that is what I did for 6 weeks). She came 2 days a week for an hour. It was no big deal actually and, for me since I had a great therapist, it was helpful. All you should be doing during the early stages of recovery are some stretching and strength-building exercises. It should not cause you great pain.

    I suggest you do a lot of reading in our BoneSmart Library as well as the pre- and post-op forums. There is a ton of information there which will probably generate some more questions. Ask away....that's what we're here for! Here are the links:

    The importance of managing pain after a TKR and the pain chart
    How Long Does Healing Take ......
    Elevating your leg to control swelling and pain
    Discussion on managing pain in TKR surgery
    Using ice

    It's never too late to get more ROM!
    Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds
    Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it
     
  9. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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    So your BMI is 47 which is about the same as mine was! As for the anaesthetic, it's uncommon for general anaesthesia to be used nowadays. Surgeons and anaesthetists both prefer to use spinals, often also called epidural or regional block. These render the patient numb from the waist down whilst not rendering them unconscious. However, the patient is also given a nice sedation so they gently sleep throughout the procedure. Of course, if you want to stay awake, that's possible too but it's my experience that most people prefer to be asleep!

    Another thing to remember is that being afraid is not abnormal. Everyone was/is anxious about this - even I was! It would be better to say that not being anxious is abnormal! It's a really big deal and we don't know what's going to happen, what it will be like and how it will turn out. We all went through this so we all know what you are feeling right now. Please don't feel like you're a wimp because you're anxious. You're not - you are perfectly normal!
     
  10. Amarillo19

    Amarillo19 Member

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    I'm 100 overweight (5'5", 234 lbs.) and my OS never said a word about my weight. My recovery has been pretty amazing. I've had a PT coming to my home for the first 3 weeks, then I have a script from my doc for 12 outpatient sessions. However, it's my choice if I want to go or just do the sheet of exercises the therapist has been having me do.

    One thing that I think has been a great help was doing the exercises the OS gave me prior to surgery. I did these 10 months until I got up enough nerve to go ahead with the surgery. I was just like you seem to be -- totally terrified of the surgery. As everyone here will tell you, it isn't as bad as you anticipate. I had a femural block and epidural. I had to take Lovenox shots for a blood thinner for 14 days, then a whole aspirin for a month. Plus I have the lovely TED stockings to wear 6 weeks.

    Keep posting and reading here. Thanks to the information and encouragement I got from the wonderful people on this site I went into surgery with a good understanding of what was to come.

    Ann
     
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  11. JoeSDF

    JoeSDF New Member

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    I can't tell you how thankful I am to discover this website and forum. Even though I am a former US Marine I also am fearful of this operation. In fact I've canceled my surgery twice. My Wife and I attended a conference last week in Key West, FL, and on several occasions I could not walk very far and my knee was swollen and very painful. I've discovered that if I don't do anything my knee does not swell or hurt but that lack of activity is certainly NOT how I want to live the rest of my life. I don't like the idea of having foreign objects in my body and I don't look forward to the post-operative pain and rehab. However I have finally reached the point where that is less important than getting my life back. I have a call in to my surgeon and I hope we can reschedule my TKR in the near future. Thanks again for the information here.
     
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  12. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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    Joe! Welcome to BoneSmart! You've come to the right place for reassurance and information. Do keep posting and hopefully we can talk you through it all this time. "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" FDR.
     
  13. Kel

    Kel Junior Member

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    I was scared too for my replacement surgery, and I am also overweight. My OS didn't mention my weight at all, and it wasn't an issue with surgery or recovery. I didn't find this forum until after surgery so you will be much better off with all the great people and information that you will find here!

    Good luck with your surgery and recovery! Keep coming here for information and reassurance.
     
  14. cotton1958

    cotton1958 Supremo

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    I'm about 30 lbs or more overweight. My OS never mentioned it. My 1st Doctor visit somewhere else, mentioned it. Told me to keep moving. Yeah right.

    After my surgery, when I was in Dr. office PT, there was a big, big young gal in there getting ready to start up pre-op PT. She was scheduled for BTKR.

    I would study up on Drs. Then call the offices, and talk to an office rep and ask if they operate on overweight patients. And then make an appt. May have to try a few. But just think they see all kind of folks all day.
     
  15. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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    I think I'd rather phrase it "Is obesity an issue for the surgeon when he does knee replacements?"
     
  16. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    Hi, Joe!!! Welcome to BoneSmart. We have a couple of former Marines on BoneSmart who are also knee patients. And I retired after 30 years with the Finance Center here in Kansas City. So you have something in common with us for sure.

    You'll find BoneSmart is full of wonderful folks who are more than willing to share their experiences and tips about this life-changing surgery. I agree that you DO need your real life back!!

    It is common to have some fears before the surgery. It's difficult to decide when is the "right" time....will it work....what will recovery be like.....and a million other questions associated with "elective surgery" (meaning it's not a life-threatening emergency).

    I suggest you start reading in the Library and pre- and post op forums. Ask whatever questions are on your mind. We have answers!

    I also recommend that you start a thread of your own in the pre-op forum and use it to post all your thoughts and questions prior to surgery. You can then begin one in the post-op forum once you're in recovery. You're part of the BoneSmart family now and we take care of our own!!! :th_console:

    We also have monthly teams that form depending on when your surgery is scheduled. We've found that it really helps to have others to talk with that are going through the surgery with you. I encourage you to post on one of the team threads when you get scheduled.

    Hang in there....we'll get you through this and you'll be back to having fun soon! And next time you go to a place like Key West, you'll be able to really enjoy the trip!
     
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  17. RestAssured

    RestAssured Forum Advisor

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    As I have stated before I was severely overweight but the way my OS put it was "Do you want to live a life with quality?" He told me that he knew it was difficult to lose weight with the knees I had, and so I made the decision to have the left one operated on, and then about 3 months later I followed up with the right. The operation went well on my left! I have kept off 65 of the pounds that I lost after the operation and I am finding it easier to lose weight now!:wink:

    My right didn't come out as well as planned but I knew I was a high risk for MRSA, because I had it 6 times in the past. I took the gamble and I still am not upset that I did, because I didn't have any life with my old knees!

    My left knee has never looked back and I don't regret the surgeries for a moment! They have given me a life I didn't have before! I will overcome the infection in the right knee and all will be well.

    Weight is an issue only if you allow it to be! Take back the life you are missing and you will never regret your decision!:th_yahoo:
     
  18. darncat

    darncat Junior Member

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    Welcome newbies! This website has been the #1 most helpul thing in getting me through the process of my upcoming TKR. All of your fears will be calmed by reading through the library and being in the company of others that are right where you are!
    I am also overweight. 5'3" and almost 200 lbs. Although my osteoarthritis is genetic, I know that being overweight hasn't helped any...I have my bedroom closet full of size 16's and my "other" closet that's full of my size 12's...I'm GONNA get back into those after surgery! I can't even walk from the parking lot into the market now, but I'm really looking forward to TKR and PT to jump-start a new me!! :th_jumpy:
     
  19. conniew

    conniew Junior Member

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    I'm at least 80 lbs overweight, and my OS said I had the best recovery he had ever seen. I had a very physical job, worked for Fedex the last 22 yrs and that involves lots of stair climbing, jumping in and out of truck plus heavy lifting. My OS never said a word about my weight and it didn't bother my recovery in the least. While I know the job contributed to my TKR, I also know it helped in my recovery, I had really strong quads. and I would advise you to do some isometric knee exercises to strengthen your quads. You can sit in a recliner while watching TV and work your knee. See an OS and make the decision to have the surgery. If you have a really great OS you will have to wait at least 2 months for surgery anyway, and that's a good thing, you want an OS who has done lots of TKR. Amazon has some great books on TKR and rehab, read them and do the exercises in them prior to surgery. Rehab isn't that bad. If you have a PT who knows what they are doing, they start you out slow and gradually ramp up your routine as you progress. Believe me, it is so worth it.
     
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