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TKR Doctor expectations

skill1234

new member
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Jul 31, 2019
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Hi there, first post, maybe new long term member. Just got back from appt with ortho surgeon - basically told the game is over, nothing else to be done but replacement with the Mako robot. Just bad luck, bad ACL's etc.

Only 46 so I had questions and I just would like to know if others got the same information from the Dr.

Concern 1) getting it done too early and it wears out.
Answer 1) they figured out a better way to make the plastic spacer, something about making in a vacuum, and then hitting it with radiation and it can very well last for the next 40 years if i take it easy.?

Concern 2) What if I don't want to take it easy
Answer 2) Running any distance will never be recommended, mainly walking and hiking and stuff. But daily stiffness and pain should be gone. Didn't say if an occasional sprint was ok?

Concern 3) recovery
A3) you have had 4 ACLs so I know the drill, similar to that? He said walking pretty good at 6 weeks, golfing at 3 months, as best as can be at 12-18 months.

Anyway I am interested to hear what other doctors have said about those things. I hate to be considering this, but know I am fooling myself that it's ever gonna get better - and the docs point about enjoying it now vs suffering to enjoy it in 20 years is a good point.

I need to look around here to see if there is a place to post xrays to compare how bad it looks with others?

skill1234
 

rosieNZ

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I have some thoughts!
1. Why wait for surgery. Pain and a life increasingly affected by disability is not great.
2. The Profesdor of Orthopaedics who reviewed me post op said re dos are not a big deal and not to be concerned about that (and its preferable to being limited by pain etc).
3. Resting! Yes!!! We all need to let our knee heal during the acute healing phase and then gradually build our flexibility and strength to be fully functional. That's just sensible. The amount of time it takes depends on your healing but in the context of life its not important
I too wanted to live a normal life before I was ready. It took a while to rebuild the muscles eroded by disability.
We all have our own time table.
Best wishes, stay positive and it will be ok xx
 

Atlas_aus

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Gidday @skill1234 ,

Totally agree with what @rosieNZ said.

I am just on 2 months post op double total knee replacement. Doing very well. And to your questions :

1 - When I was your age I was told the same thing. Technology has changed. The components that could wear out are easily replaced, no need for total replacements after the first one.

2 - running, it was possibly what got you into this... They have 'cars' now to avoid this :heehee: I can confirm in my particular case the original pains I had are certainly gone, for the first time that I can remember form long suffering. There are other pains now post surgery but they are nearly all gone.

3 - Very different for everyone. Like I said I am only 2 month s out for both knees, doing more than I could before surgery including riding a pushbike, driving etc. From what I have read, especially on here is it is about a 12 month journey, some get there quicker than others, but by the 12 month mark we are pretty much equal. The big thing is it is not a race, this is major surgery and should be treated as such.

The best advice I can give is to thoroughly read this forum and follow the mantra of icing, resting and elevating. Forget all the exercises, milestones form OT and Doctors and take it easy. Just moving around home, showering, toilet etc is all you need in the first 6-8 weeks.

Another thing, being younger you have a huge advantage. :)

Don't put it off, get it done and enjoy life. :happydance:
 

Josephine

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I need to look around here to see if there is a place to post xrays to compare how bad it looks with others?
There is a tool in the place where you wrote your post. Read these for more advice
Uploading a Picture in a Post
A few tips on posting xrays

I've also added a form to this post which you should open up and print off. When you complete it, the results will tell you clearly what your need for a new knee is!
 

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Rockgirl4

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I'm also 46 and just had my first TKR on May 21. I'd had 7 previous surgeries on this knee, and it was wrecked. I simply couldn't put off a replacement any longer, as other parts of my body were starting to suffer due to constantly compensating for this knee.

I must say I totally disagree about age and fitness level giving you an advantage. Just read a lot of recovery threads here and you'll see what I mean. :) It really depends on the person, how bad the knee has become, and whatever other issues might complicate things. This recovery is so individualized, and one cannot speed things along. My surgeon said we younger, fit patients are his worst. :) We think youth and fitness will make our recovery faster and easier, and we get very angry when it doesn't. He has to remind us a full recovery can take up to 12-18 months. I'm here to tell you it may or may not, but you do NOT get to choose what group you fall in to. Your body chooses for you.

Granted, some people heal quickly and have less pain. It's NOT the norm though. I'm one of the slower ones. Granted, it's not a race----but it WILL test your patience, especially if you think you'll be doing EVERYTHING normally by 3 months. I'm at 10.5 wks and still can't walk long distances due to major inflammation problems. I also have a lot of nerve pain in the front/side of my shin, some of which started following my ACI surgery in 2015. So even though I don't have a lot of KNEE pain now,I have loads of pain everywhere surrounding the knee. That is something I wasn't prepared for.

As for the lifespan of the joint, others here have already mentioned that myth. I was also told to wait/suffer until was 50 or older because TKRs only last 15 yrs. Thankfully I was set straight and found a wonderful surgeon who doesn't just look at our age.
 

Roaster323

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@Rockgirl4 I’m 62, still active and been playing cricket until this major shift in knee condition. Appointment 5th Sept with the hospital and I know already it will be a TKR, 4 previous arthroscopies tells me this. I get pain in the lower leg and thigh now and I just pray to god that this isn’t the same for a long time post op. So pleased to have found a forum that I can bounce off
 

mtsumomm22

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I am 45 and my surgery is in September. I was worried about being to young as well. I was told today they can last upwards of 30 years. I decided to do it now and enjoy life again. I feel like if I wait it will just be a few years til I won't have a choice at all and be in misery while I am putting it off.

I had a scope done back in June and was supposed to have a partial done but he got in and realize it was worse than he expected. I have been in pain since! I scared of the recovery but hopeful in 6 months I will be great!
 
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skill1234

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Wow - somehow I missed that I got replies on this thing :) Thank you for the responses! So anyway - after hemming and hawing for the rest of the summer, i'm biting the bullet and scheduled for Dec9 (unless I chicken out or get fired or something..) Its funny i was trying to get it done by the end of year so as not to roll into a fresh deductible in my insurance, and the scheduler said I was lucky because the "deductible season is always really busy. What a bummer state of insurance that we all have the same stupid problems with it.

If anyone in Denver has feedback it would be neat to hear.

Scared - but after talking it over decided that I'm pretty experienced with the knee surgery thing, know the drill so to speak. Even though advice around here is to take it easy, the doc said he prefers to get his patients working ealier - we shall see I guess. My doc also always has his patients stay the night at the hospital.. I thought I'd go home the same day.

Just decided to give it a shot - so tired of the knee always being the limiting factor to everything I try and do - still will be prolly, but at least won't frickin ache all the time.. I fully intend to be able to sprint at least a little bit more, haven't been able to do that at all in 15 yrs, ran track in school, and really miss it. Just a little bit to beat my kid before he grows up too much :) Not too much to blow the thing out tho..

So - I have 2 months to kick my butt and get in the best shape I can so I'm ready to go!


skiller
 

luvcats

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@Rockgirl4 is wise and offers excellent advice. I'm 50 and the first surgeon I interviewed gave me the same nonsense about waiting. The truth is, they improve the technology every day. The latest implants haven't run their course yet, so they could last a whole long longer. And in 20 years, even if the worst predictions are true, who's to say that they won't have a much better solution? I just had both my knees done. Best Decision Ever.

Be warned though, Rockgirl wasn't kidding that you don't get to decide how things are going to go, and it doesn't necessarily only depend on the damage to your knees or current fitness level either. My 2 knees have behaved very differently, and that with the same body, same surgeon, and only 2 months apart. But however it goes, it will be better without constant nagging burning pain.
 
OP
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skill1234

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Yeah - I will check in closer to surgery date. Somehow I let it slip my mind that I was ruining holidays for everyone else, so I asked to be put on a list in case there are any cancellations before then, but feeling kind of selfish about it now and really reconsidering waiting, even though i'd be on the hook for the extra few grand... Anyway - there's my xray, prolly looks pretty familiar to everyone...

knee.jpg
 

Shewolf38

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Jun 10, 2019
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I had a right total knee replacement on 8/29/19. I’m a few days shy of being 6 weeks PO. I had an excellent surgeon and, after getting and following the recovery guidelines from this group, a great PT experience. Does it hurt, heck yes, but it also feels better. I’m overweight, so I need to get on a weigh loss program, I was told that I am barely in the age range that my surgeon prefers to do the surgery. I was told that jogging/running is not a good exercise for my replacement, but walking is a great way to keep my knee happy. As far as healing, everyone is different, but after the first week I had nothing unexpected. I’m approved to be off work for 12 weeks and this was great news for my surgeon because he knows that I’m not going to get too aggressive with my rehab. He did tell me that at 6 weeks, I’m 2/3 ‘s healed and by 6 months I will be 80% healed.
 

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