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I imagine I am no different to many other Forum members living with Arthritis in as much as it's a learning curve, including experiences with healthcare professionals.

My GP referred me to ConnectHealth for a consultation with an orthopaedic specialist in MSK about treatment options for the OA I have in both my knees. This was following XRays which displayed calcium deposits in both knees and his thought was an Arthroscopy could help to flush them out. I set up a telephone appointment and had a 30 minute call with a doctor who was very thorough but ultimately unhelpful. It appeared that because my condition wasn't classed as "chronic", that I was managing my condition and leading a (mostly) active life he wouldn't refer me for any treatment full stop. I commented that I found it hard to believe I would need to be near-paralysed before any intervention would be considered but he insisted that any surgeon would be dismissive based on the XRays and my notes. I called back, arranged to speak with someone more senior and had a completely different call. The 2nd consultant had a really positive attitude and insisted that without a F2F consultation, no reliable assessment could be made because XRays and MRI Scans are too inclusive though many doctors take them at face value. With that in mind, we've arranged to meet in a few weeks' time for a new evaluation of my condition.

So the point of this post is to say to any other Forum members who think they may have hit a brick wall with the NHS over treatment options, don't take one person's word for it. Try to get a second opinion, it's worth the perseverance.

Comments

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,740
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    Thanks for that, I hope the next visit is a more helpful consultation. But to be honest one of my surgeons (hip) even with me right in front of him was only interested in what the xray showed. While he was happy to put me on the path for steroid injections (pointless as I had no cartilage left) and eventually surgery, he wasn't really interested in how it affected me in my daily life and left me profoundly depressed. He also didn't tell me the type of surgery he did meant being on crutches for 12 weeks instead of 6, which being self employed in an active job, wasn't sustainable. I changed surgeons - the other was much more positive, and only 6 weeks on crutches.

    Having said that, part of the surgeon's job is to defer replacement surgery as long as possible by various pain management strategies, ie exercise/physio, drugs, arthroscopies and eventually knee replacement. They defer replacement as the implant has a limited life, and only one opportunity for renewal. Full replacement is therefore an extreme, and last resort, measure for pain management, and frankly you need to be pretty desperate to volunteer for this type of surgery. I'm profoundly hoping i never need to have my other hip done, but I could literally hardly walk, even with a stick and on handfuls of opioids and still in extreme pain, by the time I was referred. When I was told that it would be another 18 months on the NHS due to the Xmas 2020 lockdown, I was so desperate I plundered our savings and went private.

    My sister had both her knees replaced before she was 60, being a gardener and aerobics teacher her knees took quite a hammering. This is pretty much the course her treatment took over a period of years, until her knees were simply no longer usable and they replaced them.