I've had the Oats done in both knees and am very happy with the first knee (left) and thrilled with the second (right). Three years ago (11/94) my knee began swelling with some pain, clicking and catching. I am an advid tennis player, both singles and doubles. I play competativly and am on the courts 4-5 days/week.
Prior to surgery, I found this page very helpful and scarry at the same time. It seems as though those of us who good success with our procedures move on and don't return to the forum. So, today 3 years after my first procedure and 3 months after my second, I am writting a positive follow up.
History- the first procedure, I did not have an MRI, my doc and I felt I as the classic meniscus so, we just went with that and scheduled an orthoscopic clean up. Once inside, he found my meniscus was beautiful
but, I had a large (size of a quarter) articular cartilage tear. He did microfracture at the time. 6 weeks later, after an MRI, he did OATS (3 plugs). Recovery from the OATS was actually EASIER than the microfracture, I had a CPM which, to me, made all the difference with straightening and bending during recovery. After 12 weeks of nwb, my muscles were tiny and slow to begin working again, I had patella tracking issues for a while which we taped so I could do PT. 8 months after OATS, I was playing tennis again! I live in snow country and my only complaint is some stiffness and pain during the winter which decreases as the day goes on and definately goes away with tennis. the more exercise I get, the better my knees do.
this summer, my other knee had the same symptoms of swelling with tennis. I had the OATS in August and have gotten the OK to play tennis already! no pain or discomfort in teh knee, a little stiffness in teh am when it is cold and I have overdone it the day before.
I feel that PT is the key to success 1. be sure to ask for the cpm machine and use it! 2. As soon as possible, begin doing exercises, even just quad sets and/or flexion and extension of the ankle. Ask your doc or see PT prior to surgery. 3. Start PT and do all of the exercises as soon as your doc tells you to. 4. while still on crutches, with the permission of PT, I went to the pool and large community hot tub to do my exercises in. The water gives a little bit of resistance. More than that, I could move around and get the kinks out from nwb and laying around- the warm water felt wonderful , lifted my spirits and gave me a better nights sleep.
Speaking of sleeping, I found that doing PT in teh am, gave me more energy during the day which made for a better nights sleep. Once the pain was tolderable during the day I would cut down on teh narcotic pain meds and just do Alleve (works better for me than advil) then I would do the narcotics before bed time. this helped me stay awake all day amd sleep all night. I made the couch like a bed with a sheet on the bottom and blankets on top of me and I used pillows behind my low back/butt and the back of the couch to prob me up and a pillow or blanket between my knees to keep everything in a striaght line so I could sleep on my side at night. I would also put two pain pills in a cup by the bed with a glass of water and crackers so, if I awoke in pain, I could take the pills with food without having to get up.
Good luck to anyone considering or going through OATS. I hope this is helpful.