Knee Replacement - How did it go?

40withKneePain
40withKneePain Member Posts: 25
edited 21. May 2019, 06:26 in Say Hello
Hi all

With the treatments I have tried to date incl biologics, the MRI scan showing severe damage and I will have to go for a knee replacement. This is ultimately the biggest decision I am about to make. I am so nervous and very very scared.

I was wandering if you could share your experiences with me (prep, surgey, post surgery, how you feel, how does the knee look, how long after did you start work, physio post op, are you happy)

Look forward to hearing from you.

Comments

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,356
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I've had three, mainly because I started young. RA at 15 and no modern DMARDS back then so, 20 years in, I needed new knees. They were great. They made my life much easier despite the RA and OA virtually everywhere else.

    I was careful to do all I was told. I rested, exercised, elevated and didn't try to rush things. What did they look like? Sorry, I don't understand the question. They looked like knees with a zip down the middle. (The scar.) Did it matter? Not a bit.

    They lasted me well. Due to the RA and OA everywhere else I couldn't do the more extreme things which might have damaged them.

    About 10 years ago i was told one had to be replaced. It had slipped out of place and, i admit, was very painful. But, it had lasted 27 years. Its replacement is fantastic but very long and required bone grafts. I don't think there's any way it could be replaced. The other TKR is 'totally knackered' according to the surgeon but the THR above it is also moribund and I'm now a risk for anaesthesia so I'm hanging on to both as long as I can.

    I'd go through with it all again in a heartbeat though. I had two small boys to raise and the TKRs helped enormously. My two small boys are now men with small boys of their own. Perfect.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,557
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I think it true to say that once we have 'nursed' people through their surgery and recovery they leave because we are not needed anymore. Sometimes they return when they need the other doing or when, very rarely, something has gone wrong. DD
  • 40withKneePain
    40withKneePain Member Posts: 25
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    hey stickywicket,

    What a positive outcome and very re-assuring. I have two boys too and I hope if and when I go through with it, I am able to see my boys turn into men happily just like you have.


    I think as a young woman, I fear the look and scarring, but if they changed your life, this is far more important and you were able to do your job by raising your boys which is the end goal.


    So promising to hear, thank you.
  • GraceB
    GraceB Member Posts: 1,598
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi,

    I've had two knee replacements. The first was a partial knee replacement when I was 44; the second in 2017 (aged 52) which was a total knee replacement, including the knee cap.

    My right one (the first) has a bend of 125 degrees which surpassed the expectation of the surgeon. But I worked extremely hard at the physio after! My left knee (2017) was in even more of a mess pre-op and the bend on that is only 70 degrees unfortunately. I can't kneel on either knee but I also have OA in my left ankle, lumbar and cervical spine, left shoulder and left wrist. Some can kneel with a TKR, some can't. My staples came out both times at 14 days post-op and each time was done by the Practice Nurse at my Doctor's surgery.

    Yes, I've got scars on both knees but, like SW says, so what? They are part of me. I was told both times that once the staples were out to start using Vaseline 48 hours afterwards to soften the scars. I hypertrophically scar (I make too much scar tissue) so my scars are more obvious than others would scar. My late Father had a TKR at 84; his scar was fully healed within a month and rapidly went to a very thin white line so faint you could barely see it.

    As for advice? Expect to be off work anything between 6-12 weeks depending on what you do. And expect to go back on a phased return. Prep as much as you can beforehand. If you aren't already doing internet shopping for your groceries start now. Stock-up on non-perishable goods and batch cook/freeze as much food as you possibly can. Change your bed and do a good clean through the day before your op. Expect to need help afterwards with such tasks; if you live alone organise a cleaner or a friend to come regularly. If you live alone you'll need a friend to stay with you for a good few days once you are home. You'll not be able to drive for a good 6-wks after unless its your left knee being done, and you drive an automatic car. Then you may be able to drive short distances - with medical permission. But don't drive until you can safely do an emergency stop.

    At any pre-op appointment take with you a list of questions and, if you can, someone else to also ensure all your queries are answered. Try to get familiar with some of the post-op exercises before you have the surgery - it will help after believe me. In the run-up to your operation stay well away from anyone with a cough, cold or any other sort of bug. There's a long wait usually for orthopaedic surgery and they can't do it if you are ill with a bug.

    Expect to be using both crutches after the op for some time and be prepared to sweat when you do the exercises. If you don't do the exercises the surgery won't work. End of! Post-op take your painkillers regularly; if you are in pain you can't do the physio.

    If I can help in any other way, please let me know. I hope it goes well for you.

    GraceB
  • Miffed
    Miffed Member Posts: 4
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello 40WithKneePain,

    After years of procrastination, I finally had my right knee replaced last November. Like you, I was nervous and very scared. So much so, that when I was first offered a referral by the doctor, I even declined and sought refuge in a library of books that suggested that arthritis could be kept in check by exercising. That might well be the case with mild arthritis, but not in my situation.

    Because I let fear dominate me, I wasted years in the futile hope that arthritis might suddenly go away or cause no further deterioration. The last thing I wanted was surgery! Meanwhile, the disease was busily chomping away at my joints and by then reaching the severe stage. When the situation became unbearable, I finally returned to the doctor and accepted the referral and just got on with it.

    The knee is meanwhile recovering well but I have yet to enjoy the full benefits of the surgery because my delay in seeking treatment meant that by now I have severe osteoarthritis in the other knee and in the right hip. I am now on the list for right hip replacement surgery with another knee replacement to follow. I can't say that I relish the prospect of more surgery, but what is the alternative? Your life will be on hold until you tackle this and the sooner it's over, the better. Don't be as daft as me!

    My knee is healing nicely now and the scar is less visible day by day. I do get depressed from time to time as the realisation hits home that I should have done something about this much earlier. Staggering around with knee and hip pain has left me with an abnormal gait that I am not sure can be rectified.

    There's not much I could add to GraceB's excellent advice. The only thing I would suggest is that you buy a leg lifter in advance. When you first come out of surgery your leg will feel like a bag of cement that is attached to the ground and you will need to have a means of lifting it onto your bed or into a car.

    Once you've got over that short stage, it's onwards and upwards!

    All the very best to you!
  • GraceB
    GraceB Member Posts: 1,598
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Miffed,

    Thanks for the reminder re the leg lifter. :idea:

    When I had my TKR in January 2017 I had to take either a belt with me or a dressing gown cord. I chose to use the latter option. That was invaluable with helping me to lift my leg until my muscles recovered at about the 10 day post-op stage. I used something similar back in 2009 when I had my first (partial) TKR.

    My cousin used a strong chiffon scarf for this purpose when she had her TKR last October. That worked well for her.

    GraceB
  • 40withKneePain
    40withKneePain Member Posts: 25
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks for all your advice and guidance folks. It really helps ground the fact that YES I have arthritis and I NEED TO DO something about it.

    My Knee op is now only 4 days away. Am I nervous - yes. Am I scared - yes, Am I having second thoughts - Yes! All questions I'm sure you have asked yourself and felt the same emotions.

    Something did change - my positivity on the whole subject and the acceptance that this is what it is and I have to get on with it. I stopped fighting against my diagnosis, I now accept it.

    I am now very much thinking about my post op preps and getting myself and my family ready for it. I know its not going to be easy. I am one in many who go through this.

    Any tips of what to do and expect in the firs few weeks will be greatly appreciated. T

    Thanks all and I hope you are doing well.
    Anita
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,356
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Rest, exercises, elevation when sitting. Do as the physios say. Don't rush anything. Let the family do the housework. Your job is to get better and walking alone won't do it. The exercises are all important. The same ones - to start with, at least - as you'll be doing now.

    If you want to make life easier for the family then buy in some ready meals or stuff that's easy to cook but don't do it yourself. Pottering to make cups of tea etc is OK but not meals. And certainly not housework. Keep your energies for the important stuff.

    I wish you all the success that I've had :D
  • 40withKneePain
    40withKneePain Member Posts: 25
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi all

    Thought id give you a quick update:

    I am in the 4th week of post op of the right knee replacement.

    My op went well, however I didn't imagine the muscle spasms and cramps that came with it. It was horrendous for the first 3 weeks, only recently I have been able to sleep more than 5 hours.

    My leg wasn't very straight before the op, now that the new knee is in, there is a lot of pressure and stretch of the muscles which haven't been worked in years..I find this the hardest...My wound is pretty big, still wander if the tightness is the knee of the wound and scar tissue itself?

    I am bending at 93 Deg so far and can just about straighten the leg. I am able to walk on the leg but am still using my crutcues to ensure I am not working the muscles too hard.

    I have to say there have been a lot of tears, a lot, A lot of emotions and feeling sorry for myself, BUT I agree with you all, the pain I used to feel is no longer there. I now have a new pain, which I am being told wont last so it is a positive.

    I am waiting to heal, resting, taking small steps at a time but I made it!! If I can make it, anyone can!!

    I have had the support of my mum and my husband immensely so far and couldn't be more grateful.

    I am tight around the knee, I am going to start some hydroptherapy sessions to get it moving better, just waiting for the wound to clear and off I go.

    I want to thank all that have contributed to my posts and helped me through this.

    I will continue to support as much as I can also to the newbies

    Thank you guys
    x
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,356
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello again :)

    I'm so pleased the op went well and thank you for the update. We're all a little different in how we progress but, overall, things sound good. I don't recall muscle spasms or cramp but I'm glad they're easing up.

    Before my first TKR my leg was anything but straight and I was a bit disappointed to find it the same way afterwards but my ligaments had all gone so there was no chance. After its revision, some 27 years later, it got much nearer to straight as, obviously, surgical techniques had improved and the surgeon managed to do some embroidery with my tendons which helped enormously.

    93 degrees is a good bend which has time time to improve. It's good that you have so much support. That is such a help. I got lucky that way too.

    Naturally the knee feels tight. It has only recently been stitched together and, underneath the surface healing, there is still a lot of inner stuff to recover from all the violence that has been done to it.

    Keep on doing what you're doing. It sounds to be working. And thanks so much for saying you'll stick around to help newbies. That will be a big help to the forum.