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Author Topic: MPFL Reconstruction  (Read 471 times)

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Offline rachelclarke17

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MPFL Reconstruction
« on: July 17, 2017, 03:18:46 PM »
I know this is very late, but I wanted to share my post-op story so that others can get some information from it, as I was only able to find a few for my specific surgery!

So on May 10th, 2017, I had an MPFL reconstruction of my left knee. I dislocated it first in February of 2015, and since then had dislocated it about 7 times, so we decided to do the surgery.

On the day of my surgery, we were supposed to be at the hospital by 11:30, because my surgery was scheduled for 1:30. I got up about 9:30, took a nice long shower, packed my bag, drank my allotted juice, and then headed off by 11. When we arrived, I checked in and was sent upstairs to the pre-op. We waited there for about 45 minutes, and then I was taken in. I had to change into the gown and scrub shoes, take out my contacts, and give my bag to the nurses. I also did my final pre-op with the surgical nurse, just to go over everything. My mom was with me for all of this, which normally isnít allowed, but because Iím just over the cut-off age (Iím 19), they allowed it.

Once all of that was done, I was taken to the back around 1:15. I waited for about 15 minutes with a nice warm blanket, and then my surgeon came to talk to me. He confirmed the surgery, and the leg, marked it with a marker, and asked if I had any questions. I was told to ask how long I have to wait before showering, so I did, and he said at least 9 days, so that was a little rough to hear. Then he left. A few minutes later, my anesthesiologist came over. She asked the basic questions needed, and explained what she was going to do. She said she was going to give me a nerve block once I was under the general anesthesia, and that it would wear off about 24 hours after the surgery. A few minutes after she left, a nurse came and got me, and walked me into the OR. They helped me get up on the table, put in my IV, and talked to me until I went under.

The first thing I remember when I woke up in the recovery room was the unbelievable amount of pain I was in. I thought something must have been wrong for me to feel that much pain. Right after that was the nausea. Those were my first words to the nurse when she saw I was awake: ďI feel sickĒ. She gave me a puke basin, and administered some medication that was supposed to help with the nausea, but it didnít really help. They asked if I wanted anything to eat or drink but I was feeling much too ill. I was also already dressed with bandages and in my immobilizer brace when I woke up. I must have nodded off a few times, and about half an hour later, when I was asking to see my mom, they moved me into the day surgery recovery room.

Once there, my mom came to see me. She checked in briefly to see how I was, and then left so my boyfriend could come see me quickly, and then my mom came back. I think she stayed for about an hour or so, but again, I nodded off so itís hard to tell. I eventually did drink some ginger ale for the nausea. Then, a nurse came and said I could go home, so she (and my mom) helped me get dressed, and put me in a wheelchair.

Leaving the hospital was horrible. Every bump the wheelchair ran over was so painful, but I just wanted to get home so I didnít let my parents push me slowly. Getting into the car was even worse. We hadnít yet figured out what to do to minimize the pain, so I just hopped wherever I needed to go, and the jostling of my leg from that motion was incredibly painful. Getting in the car took about 15 minutes. I was crying the whole way home. Getting into my house was pretty much the same, and I decided I was going to stay on the couch, as I was in too much pain to try and maneuver the stairs at that moment.

The first night, I was drugged up. Every four hours, I was taking two Percocets for the pain, two Gravols for the nausea, a Bennedryl for the itching (side effect of the Percocets), plus all my regular meds. Even with all that, I didnít sleep for more than an hour and a half at a time for the first week.

About 30 hours after the surgery, we think the nerve block wore off, because it was the most pain I had ever been in. There was nothing I could do about it, as Iíd already taken the meds, so my friends and family just tried to keep me distracted from it. The next day (May 12th, 2 days post-op) was the worst for the nausea. I was puking up everything I was eating, it was not fun. I also had no feeling in my shin since the surgery, so we kept an eye on that.

I was basically on bedrest for 9 days. I passed the time by watching a lot of Netflix (I started and finished The Office), and having friends/family visit me. I could not imagine doing this surgery if I lived alone, as I needed help with the littlest things, from changing, to getting food, even walking to the bathroom.

The things that really helped during this time was my ice machine (if you are debating getting one, do it, it was a lifesaver), having a pillow under my knee to get a slight bend/support, and staying on top of my pain meds (I didnít wait till I felt pain to take them till around the 10 day mark). Also, because my room and bathroom is on the top floor of my house, but the TV is on the main floor, I had to go up and down at least 2, usually 4-6 times a day. What worked for me was to go up the stairs backwards on my butt, using my arms and good leg to push me up to the next one, while someone held my leg straight and steady. That way, there were minimized unnecessary movements of my knee.

On the 9th day, I went back to the hospital to see my surgeon for my first post-op appointment. I had four incisions (one that went in laparoscopically, one on the top of my kneecap, and one on either side of my knee), leading to a total of 16 staples and 1 stitch. I got those removed, and saw my surgeon. He said everything was looking good. He switched me out of the immobilizer brace and into a new one that was about the same size, but had the ability to bend. He also said I could start physio, and that I would see him again in 6 weeks. I was also allowed to shower again the following day (hallelujah).

That day was really hard for me. I thought that the only reason I couldnít bend my leg was because of the immobilizer brace (stupid, I know), and when I found out that I could not physically bend my knee more than 10 degrees was hard. I knew it was going to be a long recovery, but I thought that after the 9 days of bedrest I would be able to get back to my normal life a bit. I was mostly off crutches at this point still, but the no bending of the leg and the huge brace was discouraging.

I also had my first physio appointment that day. We did some very basic exercises, she mobilized my kneecap, and did the Tens machine for pain management. I continued doing physio once a week for about a month, before I was able to switch to once every two weeks. I progressed very quickly, likely because Iím young, and was diligent about doing my exercises. Within two weeks, I was bending my leg to about a 40 degree angle. By the 6th week, I was able to do 90.

6 weeks post-op, I saw my surgeon again. He moved my patella, and said it was no longer Ďloosy-goosyí as he had once described it. He switched me out of the big brace (finally), and said I was able to go into a small one. When I asked how long I should wear it for, he said ďoh, until you finish your physioĒ, which is supposed to be in April. When he saw my disbelief at this, he said ďonly when you go outĒ, so I take that second part very seriously, and I do not wear my brace when Iím lying around at home, at a friendís house, or at work (as I have a desk job). He said to see him again 8 weeks after that.

So, basically, this is where Iím at now. Iím at 8 weeks post-op. Iím walking fully, though still have a bit of a limp sometimes. I still can only do one stair at a time, unless I have something very sturdy to hold onto to heave myself up. Sleeping is totally back to normal. Iím virtually off pain meds, only taking an Advil or Tylenol maybe once a week, usually before physio appointments. I bend my leg comfortably just a bit past 100 degrees, but working on that every day.

This recovery truly has not been easy. I had read a lot to prepare myself, but still, there were so many surprises, and things I couldnít prep for. I know I still have a long way to go, but Iím confident and thrilled that the worst is behind me!

You can see 4 pictures from my recovery here:

The first is my leg about 24 hours post op, in the immobilizer brace, with the bandages on. My leg is still red from the betadine used in surgery.
The second is the staples on the main incision on the top of my kneecap.
The third is the brace I was in from 10 days post op-6 weeks post op.
The fourth is my leg bent about 8 weeks post op, where you're just starting to be able to see the shape of my kneecap again.