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Too heavy for knee replacement?

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scarlett

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I am around 260lbs and 5'7 and 43. I know I am young but I have hereditary bad knees and both are now arthritic. I can't walk any distance or stand up. I don't have too much pain unless I am weight bearing. I am a prisoner in my own home and don't have any way of getting outside as I am single. I work very little and often have to cancel at the last minute. I saw one orthopaedic surgeon who dismissed me, told me to go swimming and lose weight. It is very slow as I can't move, but I have lost around 20lbs. It's not enough though. I want to know if I would 1) benefit from knee replacements 2) should find a new surgeon who may be more sympathetic. I have auto-immune IBD which has also caused my other joints to be inflamed, especially both ankles, so my knees are really only half the problem. Any advice gratefully received.
 

RestAssured

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Well Hello and have you come to the right place! :happydance:

I weighed 435 pounds walked with braces on both knees and used a walker with a seat. My OS said "Do you want to live a life of quality or simply .quanity?". That sealed the deal for me and I have lost 150 pounds since the first two knee replacements 2 years ago. To b.e able to do what I want to again and feel free is like nothing else in the world! :happydance:
 

Jamie

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Hi, scarlett...welcome to BoneSmart!

I definitely think you should keep searching for a surgeon who understands that it is darn near impossible to lose weight when it hurts big time to exercise!!! They are out there. BoneSmart has a clinic locator (tool bar at the top of the page) that will give you a place to start. Many, many people who are heavy have had successful outcomes from joint replacement surgery. Go for it!!!
 

Roy Gardiner

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scarlett

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Thank you, Sonja - how old were you when you had the surgery? I'm really glad you found someone who was willing to operate. I will do more research and see if I can find someone. Also, how long did it take you before you could walk okay again, enough to go to work? xx
 
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scarlett

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Thank you Jamie - I will look and be more pushy!
 

Janet2012

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Definitely keep looking. My surgeon said nothing about weight. I brought it up and he told me the day before he did a tkr on a 350 pound woman and only needed a 3 1/2 inch incision. It wasn't an issue. Now other health issues could matter, but if otherwise a healthy candidate, weight is not a limiting factor.
 

RestAssured

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I had my first replacement at 44 and the 2nd 2 and 1/2 months later at 45. I was up and walking the day after surgery. How long did it take me to recover? With the left knee 2 and 1/2 months. The right knee was another story because of my previous 6 MRSA infections. I was doing pretty good at a week and a half, but suddenly pain started to increase! I have decided that I need to write a blog inthe one percent who get infections, and what to look for from the patient's perspective! If I had listened to my body like I had with all my other MRSA infections, it might not have reached the point it did. I was told before both surgeries because of my previous MRSA infections that I had a 50/50 chance. But, I wasn't living, merely existing. I taught 7th grade for 20 years and did not go back due to a dictator principal! The best decision of mylife! Stress went way down, and I was finally happy again. The only work I do now is strengthening my knee and body. I am a full time student in a Conflict Resolution and Reconcilation Master's program.

What type of job do you do that requires heavy lifting? I think I would look foUr a transfer in the company if possible. That is only adding to your knee misery!

Roy I don't know how to add my story but parts 1 and 2 would be best! Thanks!
 

Kitt

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Hello Ms. Scarlett...one of the guys having surgery on the same day as mine as a mighty big man. Just guessing, he probably weighed at least 300 lbs and possibly more. He was also diabetic, with part of his left foot having been removed because of it and had 4 stents. And he had a total knee replacement the year before.

Saw him at our 6 week post-op appointment. I was still using a walker (I am a chunk needing to lose weight also)and he was using nothing.

Don't give up. Find another doctor. Here's a link for U.S. News listing top docs. http://health.usnews.com/top-doctors

Good luck
 

Josephine

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Well, your BMI is 41 which is pretty high but I've nursed patients with higher. In fact, one lady had a BMI of 60 (400lbs) but still got hers done and she did jolly well too. And you're not young - there is no such thing when you have destroyed joints! Being told to go away and wait x number of years is not an option.

However, there are increased risks for things like heart attacks, clots and infection but many of of big ladies and chaps still got them done. They are only risks not inevitabilities..
 

lh25

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I agree with the others. Keep looking for a surgeon. I had my knee done in April, I'm 5'4" and weigh about 290. I'm 47. I was a little more active then you, but I knew I was getting worse. Most days, I went to work then came home and vegged in front of the TV because that's all I could do. Weekends were a little housework, but not much. I realized this wasn't the life I wanted, nor what my husband deserved in a wife(even though he is wonderful and never complained.) Already I'm better in many ways. Yes, it's a tough recovery and I'm still in it. I have some stiffness and soreness still, but today we did a garage sale and I was surprised how much I could do, standing and walking a lot.
 

RestAssured

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If my surgeon had told me I needed to lose weight first, I would of looked for another surgeon! This is your life, your health, and your opportunity to regain a standard of living that you haven't had in a long time! Was it scary for me? Of course it was. I was at a high risk of having infection because of 6 previous MRSA infections. But I didn't let that stop me because I knew that I wasn't living the life I wanted to live! Now I am moving towards my weight loss goal of 160-170 and I am excited! Life changes because when the pain is gone, you have a whole new outlook! :happydance:
 
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scarlett

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Okay, tell me what you think. Last night I did NOTHING and my outer right knee felt like it went out of joint. SO painful. It kept doing it. I bandaged it up tightly and in my sleep I didn't move for fear of it happening again. At the moment, I have both ankles bandaged (had an arthroscopy on left one 2.5 years ago to remove cartilage) as they are both inflamed and give way, although I don't think there is arthritis as such. Probably caused by me walking funny cos of knees. Both knees are now bandaged as tightly as I can get them. I can't walk. Tomorrow I am due to start a new job and it is vital that I can get there, even though he job is sitting down. I feel like crying all the time with frustration of not being to move without something giving way. And being heavy, I am judged by that every time I see a Doctor or specialist. The soles of my feet fizz and hurt constantly- why I have no idea. I can stagger a few steps to the loo with difficulty. I haven't walked on my own outside for 2 years. Do you think I am due knee replacements? X-rays and MRI scans show arthritis. I'm now completely unreliable and cannot commit to any social or work commitment. How bad did things get for you before you were allowed an operation?
 

RestAssured

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Let's look at what you wrote and I think you will know the answer!

Wrapped outer knee because it felt like it was going out of joint.
Feet hurt so bad and fizz constantly.
You have not walked outside on your own for two years!
Cannot commit to social or work because of pain.

Hmmmm, well in my opinion, it is PAST time to find a OS who will treat you with respect and dignity, and not a number on the scale. Where do you live? Maybe one of us will be able to help you. When you said "loo" I thought you might live in the UK but that is an inference!
:)
 
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scarlett

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Youre right- I am in the UK! I think most people on here are in the USA, no?
 

1ELISEA

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Welcome! :) We are from all over the world. Our Orthopedic Surgical Nurse extraordinaire, Josephine is from the UK and has decades of experience. If you tell her where you live in the UK and who you've seen, perhaps she will provide additional surgeons or hospitals for a consult.

As far as whether to have it, only you can decide when/if you are ready for surgery. If you reread your post, though, you'll have your answer.
 

RestAssured

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Josephine. Well Jo, will be able to help you find a surgeon that will take you in and treat you with the respect you deserve. We are from all over the world, but I look for words when someone doesn't mention where they are from. In the US, we usually call the loo, the restroom, or the bathroom. Some people have other names for it too, but I will leave it at that! :rotfl:
 
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scarlett

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That would be great- how do I get Josephine to see this post? Sorry, I'm new to all this! :)
 
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