The WAITING ROOM => GENERAL KNEE QUESTIONS and comments (good for new threads) => Topic started by: Holly on January 21, 2004, 09:16:57 PM

Title: It's all new to me!
Post by: Holly on January 21, 2004, 09:16:57 PM
I just got back from my OS, in whom I have infinite faith.  He's been treating me for 5 yrs following my having been run over by a car.  I've had 4 arthroscopies and 1 open surgery to try to repair damage to Right Knee lateral and medial meniscus, ligaments, severe patellar damage, tibia and femoral misalignment, etc.  I've had some temporary relief, but am now in daily unceasing pain and he says I need a Fulkerson's Osteotomy.  Maybe because I trust him so much, he seemed to whiz through the description and rehab process as though it would be a breeze, but now, having read some of the postings here, I'M GOOD AND SCARED!!  I'm not particularly fazed by pain, I can and will do the PT (I always have), but he's talking about 6 wks out from work then good to go.  I'm a Registered Dental Assistant, 50 yrs old, pretty darned active.  Does 6 wks sound right?  Really??!  Also, he's never been big on pain meds - I got about 1 wk's worth at the most, and that was after the open surgery.  Should I be insisting on something?
Finally, and I know this sounds idiotic at this point, but I have pretty nice looking bad will the scar be?  Are we talking Nightmare on Elm Street?  I'm going to have to do it anyway, I just want to be prepared psychologically.
Thanks to anyone who can help!
Title: Re: It's all new to me!
Post by: Linds on January 21, 2004, 09:30:22 PM
Hey Holly, I wanted to wish you good luck with your surgery... :-/ IT's never fun. I hope some people who have had a Fulkerson will post a reply to this, you might try putting it down in the Patella Fermoral section of the board.  Six weeks seems short..but everyone is different.  I had a LR and I was off work for 3 months.  But I don't know about a Fulkerson. If you are in pain talk to the OS about it, or try your family physician. I am seeing my Family Doctor for pain control right now, as my OS like yours has never been all that good with pain meds.
Good luck
Title: Re: It's all new to me!
Post by: Holly on January 21, 2004, 09:44:18 PM
Thanks Linds!
See, I'm so new to this whole thing (plus, being 50, didn't even know how to work the whole bulletin board apparatus...had to ask my 20-yr old to help!) that I didn't even realize there was a specific section where my question would best fit.  I'll try posting in the femoral patellar section.
Mostly, thanks for the encouragement!  I've read several of your replies to people in KNEEgeeks and it seems you've helped lots of scared and confused folks.
Title: Re: It's all new to me!
Post by: Heather M. on January 21, 2004, 10:13:09 PM

If you want the nitty gritt deteails of your upcoming procedure, visit for some pretty technical stuff.

Essentially, the doctor is going to surgically break your shin where the patellar tendon inserts, then move that junction (called the tibial tubercle) over to a new location.  It will then be held in place with several screws.

Since this involves a fracture, you have to give it time to heal before you go running around on a broken shin bone!  Usually, weight-bearing is restricted or sometimes even not allowed during this stage.  Every doctor has a slightly different take on rehab, so if yours wants you to take the time off work it's probably because you'll be in a big immobilizing brace and won't be able to get around without crutches.

Good luck with the surgery.  I will be facing one of them soon.  The patients here who have had it report one of two things:  moderate to little post op pain and relatively quick recovery or severe post op pain (the blood rush everyone talks about) with significant mobility restrictions and basically taking 6+ months to get to the point where they stop regretting the surgery.  The good news is that most people I've read posting about the results are thrilled with their Fulkerson procedures.  That's got to count for something.

I would talk to the OS now about pain management, especially if he is going to have you in a brace and non-weight-bearing.  You may also need some help sleeping for a while.  My OS prescribes Ambien and it works like a dream.  You may want to have a backup plan, as OS's are notoriously bad about pain management.  They seem to forget that we have nerves in our knees and that not everyone is feeling spry 7 days after knee surgery....

Title: Re: It's all new to me!
Post by: Leentje on January 21, 2004, 10:36:16 PM

Sorry to hear about your kneeproblems!  Visit Heather's links and try these one's also

I had a Fulkerson last year and I am greatfull about the results! The pain is a lot less and I haven't had dislocations of my patella since. But it is subluxing again. I had severe malalignment though and no femoral grooves! I was in a full leg cast and on crutches 3 weeks, then 3 weeks of PT, I was off work 11 weeks (I am a nurse). My OS is also not big on painmeds! I only took paracetamol post-op (he gave me 12 tablets, I only took them in the evenings and didn't take all of'em). I had full ROM back quickly (5 weeks post-op, but it took me 9 weeks before I could walk without a limp again! It is hard to trust your knee again, and I did have a lot of traumas and casts in the past so it was not my 1st rehab. I am able to run and play sports, but the knee is not (and never will be) good. I have severe cartilage damage and tracking is still out of line. Both knees are affected, only L one had surgery so far.

Do a little TTT research but if you have surgery follow OS orders. I am a bit younger than you (26) but a TTT works if done correctly and for the right reasons, no matter what age.

Good luck!!
Title: Re: It's all new to me!
Post by: Holly on January 21, 2004, 11:04:43 PM
All ladies responding to my post:

Thanks for the info and the suggestions, especially about help with sleep/pain/post-op care! Unfortunately, my GP is not a great believer in pain meds either, even when he had to suture me up following a nasty gash requiring a dozen stitches.  I mean, I gave birth to a 10.5 lb., 24" long child with not so much as an Advil, but I'm getting a bit creeped out about the "blood rush" everyone talks about following Fulkersons.  I guess I should line something up, huhn?  

Should I be suspicious that no one wants to talk about the way the dang thing is going to look post-op?  Is it gruesome?  Ladies, please...BE HONEST!

The best thing, though, is that EVERYONE seems to think the surgery was ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT!  For that, I can take ANYTHING!!!

Title: Re: It's all new to me!
Post by: anasta5ia on January 22, 2004, 03:06:10 AM

I have had 2 Fulkersons on my right knee and soon am going to be having the left one.  I have an 8 inch scar diagonally from my tibial tuberosity to my VMO that has been used three times (each time they had to make it a bit longer).

I heal pretty well and the scar looks pretty good......I am just 12 weeks post-op from the last op and it is just a little pink.  It all just depends on how you heal.

Heather G.
Title: Re: It's all new to me!
Post by: Marie on January 22, 2004, 03:18:50 AM
Hi Holly,

The deal with a Fulkerson is that when they cut the bone and drill screws through your tibia it can hurt like hell if you're not properly medicated for the pain.  10 days on narcotic painkillers is pretty much a standard post-op procedure (oxycocet, percocet, etc), then you start weaning off to acetaminophen, and then to nothing.  If your doctor has done this operation before, he should know that you'll be requiring a bit of extra meds for this surgery.  Will you be doing an outpatient procedure or does he want you in the hospital overnight or for a couple days?  The bloodrush started occuring about day 2-3 when I'd been in bed for a while & went to get up (i.e. to go to the bathroom) from having my leg in the elevated state... it's a weird sensation, but is mostly dizzying b/c the blood in your head empties to your lower extremities - gradually lowering the leg will prevent the worst of the badness associated with this occurence.

They say 6 weeks to 6 months off work, depending on what you do for a living.   I was at a week-long work related conference 6 weeks after surgery & back to work 7 weeks afterwards - at that point I was using a cane to walk.  I think it's pretty safe to say at this point that my subluxations are gone for good, so in that respect the surgery was an outstanding success, although getting my ROM back has been slow.

I'm 23 and didn't worry about my nice legs... the scars are there & they're still red, but they'll probably blend in better with time.  You can always have cosmetic surgery on your leg to get rid of scarring, just as you can tell your OS to not get too scalpel-happy.  I read somewhere that the scar is 4-9 inches long, but mine is 2 1/2 inches and some people may have even less scarring depending on how their OS performs the procedure.

Never hurts to do as much PT and be as active (as you're permitted) as possible, stay healthy, take your calcium, etc, before surgery.  

Best wishes,
Title: Re: It's all new to me!
Post by: Holly on January 22, 2004, 06:19:14 AM
Thanks to everyone for the encouraging responses...I'll check back in after my surgery at the beginning of March (we haven't set a specific date yet).  Wishing you all a pain-free February and to those recuperating...Get Well Soon!!!
Title: Re: It's all new to me!
Post by: CeCe on December 08, 2009, 03:00:38 AM
I am about 4 weeks post op from a Fulkerson's, a lateral release, and chondroplasty.  I was wondering if you experienced any numbness on the inside of the thigh.  Aside from the usual numbness at the sight of surgery, I am numb down the entire inside of my thigh all the way to my foot.  My surgeon does not seem to have an answer for this.  Did you experience the same thing?  I'm getting worried.