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TKR Nickel Allergy Confirmed with Blood Test

Golfer1

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Although I had a TKA of my right knee 5 weeks ago, I am placing my post in the pre-op area because it is a big concern for those who think they might have a metal allergy to have it addressed PRIOR to surgery.

For years I have known that I would get a rash from wearing cheap necklaces or itchy, swollen ear lobes from cheap ear rings. I have even had to paint the back of metal watch faces with clear nail polish. When discussing knee replacement surgery with my OS late last year, I mentioned to him that I thought I had a metal allergy of some sort and was concerned about the metal implants. He told me that there was a blood test available to test for metal hypersensitivities and urged me to have it.

Long story short… I contacted a lab called Orthopedic Analysis in Chicago, had them test my blood and found out that I am HIGHLY allergic to nickel. The test cost $398, which was fully covered by my TRICARE military insurance.

I showed the results to my OS and it was a game changer. The implant he WOULD have used on me, if I had not had this allergy, would’ve been a Triathalon Knee made by Stryker. It has nickel in it. Instead, he used a Smith & Nephew implant with a hardened ceramic coating (Oxinium-Oxidized Zirconium) which is the “go to” for patients with metal allergies.

In addition, where he normally closes the incision using staples, he used a self-dissolving Monocryl stitch and surgical glue instead, because STAPLES HAVE NICKEL in them too!

I am SO grateful that I had this blood test prior to surgery. I am fully convinced that my body would have rejected the Triathalon implant and most likely the staples as well.. resulting in most likely another surgery to replace the implant later down the road, after much unnecessary pain and discomfort. I DODGED A BULLET with a simple blood test.

If you suspect that you have a metal allergy, you would be very wise to invest in this blood test through Orthopedic Analysis, even if your insurance plan does not cover the cost. It could change your life. (And, no, this is not a paid endorsement nor do I own any stock in this company!)

So, here I am, five weeks after my TKA. I had a 114° bend six days postop and a 123° bend at 4 weeks postop. Onward!
 

Jaycey

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@Golfer1 Great information. I am sure our members will appreciate this input.

Note that I moved your thread to the post op area as you are indeed post surgery. Our pre-op members will see this information and respond with any questions.

I see you have not been given a copy of our knee recovery guidelines. I'll post them here for you.
Knee Recovery: The Guidelines
1. Don’t worry: Your body will heal all by itself. Relax, let it, don't try and hurry it, don’t worry about any symptoms now, they are almost certainly temporary

2. Control discomfort:
rest
ice
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)​

3. Do what you want to do BUT
a. If it hurts, don't do it and don't allow anyone - especially a physical therapist - to do it to you​
b. If your leg swells more or gets stiffer in the 24 hours after doing it, don't do it again.​

4. PT or exercise can be useful BUT take note of these

5. At week 4 and after you should follow this Activity progression for TKRs

6. Access these pages on the website

The Recovery articles:
The importance of managing pain after a TKR and the pain chart
Swollen and stiff knee: what causes it?
Energy drain for TKRs
Elevation is the key
Ice to control pain and swelling
Heel slides and how to do them properly
Chart representation of TKR recovery
Healing: how long does it take?

Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it
Sleep deprivation is pretty much inevitable - but what causes it?

There are also some cautionary articles here
Myth busting: no pain, no gain
Myth busting: the "window of opportunity" in TKR
Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds

We try to keep the forum a positive and safe place for our members to talk about their questions or concerns and to report successes with their joint replacement surgery.

While members may create as many threads as they like in a majority of BoneSmart's forums, we ask that each member have only one recovery thread. This policy makes it easier to go back and review history before providing advice.
 

Seatides

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What an informative post, @Golfer1! I wonder why patients aren't routinely asked about metal allergies -- and told why this is so important -- before TKR? Or are we and I've just forgotten? We fill out so many check-off--type forms in advance of surgery; maybe it's on one of those?
 

sistersinhim

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No, it isn't a normal test to have before a replacement. I think it might have something to do with insurance not normally covering it. To me, it makes sense to have the test before hand than having to pay for a revision, but the insurance companies must not think so. Before my next replacement, I will have a metal allergy test will be done, even if I have to pay for it myself. I'd rather know ahead of time rather than go through a replacement because of having the allergy.
 

Sara61

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How very informative- thank you I never even gave that a thought prior to knee surgery nor was I ever asked by anyone if I had a allergy to metal/nickel - I was only given a form asking if I was allergic to food or medicine.
I can only wear/ use gold or platinum so any costume earrings or jewellery is not an option for me.
I will certainly in future inquire about this with my doctor /surgeon.
Wishing a continued good success in your recovery xxx
 

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