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Fusion Failsafe's Knee Fusion Questions

positive72

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Actually not always the case. My mom had an infection and yes above was done (spacer with antibiotic) but did not work, so a steel rod was placed and it has been 8 months. The next step would be surgery to remove rod(recover) than actual knee replacement again, like starting over. She is currently waiting another 3 months for the tissue to strengthen. Has anyone else ever had experience with that?
 

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Thanks for the information, @positive72. That's certainly not the norm for infections, even when the antibiotic spacer doesn't work with the first try. How about starting a thread of your own so you can provide some additional information as your Mom goes through this process without derailing this member's thread. We'd definitely like to know more about your mother's situation and how things progress for her.
 
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Failsafe

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failsafe said:
Hi and I am new to the forum.
I have had a fused left knee due to chondrosarcoma since October 1980 at 22 years of age. Closing in on 40 years. Being young and fit this was really my only option as the joints of the time and my activity level were not compatible for long term success. My question is are there others on these forums who have had a long term knee fusion that would discuss the effects on other parts of your body compensating for the loss of a knee joint?
Thank you for your time,
Well the response is favorable. I was 22 when I had this surgery and in the USAF. They told me due to my active style the best option was to fuse the left knee and have a 70cm intramedullary rod running from my proximal femur to the distal tibia. This would be post graft from my tibia to the chondrosarcoma sight of my left knee. I am sure everyone will agree that has had a knee fusion that adjustments in lifestyle are needed. fast forward to today 42 years later. I now have had pain in not only the left hip and ankle as well as the right hip, knee, and ankle from compensation of the lost joint. I my self have been in the medical field working in CT 5 years and now primarily Cathlab 31 years. This requires multiple hours standing both during a regular 10 hour shift plus callback hours. I have noticed that even though I have tried to reduce weight gain it is a never ending and now losing battle. Post op a year of no or limited activity to allow the healing process the weight gain started. As it grew I tried diets and would see 10-20 pounds fall off but with out good exercise it was not going to continue to drop and instead increase more. I had a long flight that with my fused knee joint laying on the edge of the airline seat I formed a DVT that when I was deplaning released to both my lungs as pulmonary emboli and an emergent trip to a medical facility. I am now on blood thinner so the type of exercise needs to be modified so injuries do not happen. At 64 I have had my share of fun accidents and now are more careful. My questions to those who would like to respond are 1) are there others with weight issues and if you found a way to curb this issue and 2)what problems vs solutions you have had for adjusting to the fusion. Thank you for your time
Failsafe22
 

Jamie

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Wow....I'm glad you were able to get to the ER quickly when the clots broke loose. That's a scary situation for sure.

Just out of curiosity, have you talked with any revision specialists about the possibility of your fusion being converted to a knee replacement? Things have changed dramatically in the orthopedic medical field in all this time and I wonder if that's something that could be considered in your case.
 
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Failsafe

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Jamie said:
Just out of curiosity, have you talked with any revision specialists about the possibility of your fusion being converted to a knee replacement? Things have changed dramatically in the orthopedic medical field in all this time and I wonder if that's something that could be considered in your case.
Yes i have checked with two orthopods over the years and both said the same. Since it has been so long 40+ years the rehab of the muscles would be extreme and I said no problem willing to work with that, then the killer they said the best they could do was get the knee ben to 70-80 degrees never straight again. I said thank you but no thank you. I need a better result.
 

sistersinhim

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I imagine your doctor is giving you the worst-case outcome.

Was your knee fused straight all those years or with a bend in it?
 

Jockette

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Have you had other opinions? Not all doctors agree on procedures and outcomes. I’m not sure if there might be a better outcome, I don’t really know anything about knee fusions.

It might be worth traveling to a big city, if you haven’t already, where there may be more cases, and maybe more opinions and options. I learned the hard way, with my partial, not to get just one opinion.
 

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Another factor is that things change over time in the orthopedic world and what might have been the case several years ago might not be so today. It could be worth another trip to a revision specialist (this is critical....not just any orthopedic surgeon will do) to discuss the matter again. And I would ask the question why they felt you would only be able to achieve 70-80 degrees of flexion and less than zero extension.

You are typically going to find surgeons with the knowledge and experience to attempt a procedure like this at larger hospitals in big cities or at teaching (university) hospitals. If you would like to pursue this type of consultation, I could help you locate some surgeons in California, which would probably be the closest to you. Just tag me if you'd like the assistance.
 
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Failsafe

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I imagine your doctor is giving you the worst-case outcome.

Was your knee fused straight all those years or with a bend in it?
Yes my knee is fused straight and due to the fusion approximately 3/4” shorter so my leg has follow through. I need an orthotic in my shoe to try and keep the pelvic tilt at a minimum. These doctors knew me and my capabilities so I don’t believe it was worst case scenerio. I have also done research as of late of the other options and the success rate is not high and with an intramedullary rod the saw they use and how close to a major artery I could lose the leg with one slip. I want to keep my leg. The post muscle work is no problem but surgeon choice would be critical.
 
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Failsafe

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Kfusion said:
I would be interested in talking with you about your knee fusion. I have a temporary rod (I call it a stick) currently in my left leg. I was scheduled for a permanent fusion surgery on March 30, 2020 but of course it is postponed until after the Coronavirus threat is over. It will be my 6th surgery since Nov 2018 on that leg. The temporary one was put in Oct 2019, so I have not been in this situation for very long but I definitely have questions about how to continue to try and live my life. Obviously, my original retirement life plan has drastically changed.
@Kfusion
Can you relate more of the surgery you have had ? You say it is in your left leg is it in the femur or tibia or does it cross the knee joint so you can not bend it? I am more than glad to answer your questions and here your story.
 
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Failsafe

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My question is are there others on these forums who have had a long term knee fusion that would discuss the effects on other parts of your body compensating for the loss of a knee joint?
Cane guy I have had my left leg at the knee fused since 1980. Yes it affectes other parts of my body from knees, ankles, hips, back. to lungs, veins, and arteries.
 

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