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Author Topic: Lateral release post-op course  (Read 849 times)

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Lateral release post-op course
« on: June 25, 2005, 08:59:56 PM »
I've seen a lot of negative on here about some lateral release outcomes and thought I would share my story and ask some questions.

I am currently 35 and have suffered from multiple patellar dislocations since I was 13.  I had numerous on the right that would reduce themselves.  A couple on the left that reduced on their own, but one that remained out that had to be reduced in ER.  My kneecaps are high and sit more laterally.  I also suffer from fairly severe osteoarthritis.

I saw one ortho that said he couldn't do anything for me and that I should go to our University hospital to have a cartilage replacement.  Since I'm so young, they will not do a knee replacement.

My doc sent me for a second opinion before sending me on and this ortho wants to do a lateral release, clean up the torn cartilage and will correct anything else in there that can be done.  He told me that although this would not obviously correct my state of arthritis, it may help ease the current pain that I experience for a few years that has been limiting me in walking and doing stairs.  He believes that this would be recommended at the University hospital before doing the cartilage replacement anyway.  He also indicated that I would definitely be needing a knee replacement, probably as early as my 50's.  His description of the post-op course was limited and he told me we could discuss that the day of my surgery.  He indicated that if he did the procedure on Thursday, I could return to work by Monday.  I am a medical transcriptionist and work out of my home so he felt this was a feasible amount of time off.

Anyway, I wanted to know the following....

1.  Will I have just the dressing on or a brace?

2.  Will I be able to weight bear at all?  I ask as using crutches will affect my back I'm sure and I have a bad back.  I am not a small person either so I'm going to be hurting in more spots than my knee with extended crutch usage.

3.  How long did you have to use the crutches?

4.  Length of therapy?  How many weeks/months on avg.

I'm beginning to get really freaked out about this whole process.  I think my main concern is the scarring issue.  I develop keloids (thick scar tissue) easily and he's aware of that, but felt that wouldn't be an issue.  I care less about the scars on my skin as I would the scars that affect the joint.

Any other info. would be appreciated.

Offline erind292

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Re: Lateral release post-op course
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2005, 09:23:32 PM »
Hi there,
Sorry to hear about your knee troubles.  I am currently 10 weeks post op a lateral release and partial menisectomy.  I also suffer from multiple dislocations which is why my OS decided to try this surgery.  Please bear in mind that everyone recovers differently and mine has been a very slow one.  I have not returned to work, but I am a police officer and need my knee in good form.  I had dressing covering my knee for about 3 days as I continued to bleed out after the surgery.  I was not given a brace to wear after the surgery although I do have one. I did use crutches after surgery as I couldn't bear much weight.  I was using 2 crutches for about 2 weeks, 1 crutch for another week.  Then I would use only 1 crutch when I left the house just for stability.  That lasted another week.  I can now walk without one, but I do walk with a limp.  I am suffering from severe scar tissue because I didn't start physio until 6 weeks post op, as per my OS.  My physio therapist said I should have started physio 2-5 days post op, so that is the cause of my scar tissue problem.  That is also the reason for the limp. 
As I said, my recovery has been difficult but there are many people who have had a much easier and quicker recovery than me.  So please don't freak out after reading this.
Please ensure that this is the right surgery for you and your knee.  It is a very difficult procedure to reverse.  Do you have a patellar tracking problem or is it maltracking?  That will make a difference if a lateral release is for you or not.  Ask lots of questions and this website is full of info and helpful people.
Good luck
04/05 - LR Right knee

Too many dislocations to count


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Re: Lateral release post-op course
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2005, 09:32:01 PM »
Because my patella sits high and to the outside, it is not tracking right.  Two years ago, one ortho was going to go in on the medial side and tighten things.  That same ortho told me he couldn't do anything for me and thus we went for a second opinion.  I think it was more of an insurance issue with the first ortho than anything as I'm a single mother and just got on Medicaid due to other health issues that I have.

My new ortho stated my lateral retinaculum is too tight and that releasing it would allow my patella to move into a more natural position to help with the tracking but that the pain I'm experiencing might not be completely helped due to the severe arthritis I have.

I'm glad to hear that things are going fairly well for you, but sorry that you have the scarring issues.  Is there anyway they can go in and "clean" that out arthroscopically and use a lot of corticosteroids to reduce further scar development?  I've experienced a lot of scarring with some surgeries, my most recent for removal of malignant melanoma and have always received corticosteroid injections for reduction of the inflammation and scarring.

Offline Boydy

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Re: Lateral release post-op course
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2005, 02:03:38 AM »
Hi, I also don't want to freak you out with negative stories, but I wish I was more informed about the 'other side of the coin' before I had my LR. I was told the recovery could be slow but should be able to return to work in a few weeks, all being well,. I am 5 months post op and still not back at work.. But I am a kindy assistant and you really need to be fit and agile for that. I was told it is crucial to start PT day 1, they wouldn't let me out of hospital until I had at least 3 sessions (kept me overnight to do this. I had crutches for 3 weeks, down to one for another 2 weeks. I had my leg in full length bandage for a week. The only thing stopping me from returning to work is the work load (carrying things,) lots of that in my job, and its not that I can't carry things, its just that when I do the next day my knee is so swollen above and below the kneecap, that it is very hard to walk (causes pain) and going up and down stairs is very slow and painful. And of course this all leads to walking with that dreaded limp. So what I am getting at is, because your job is a sit down one, ( even though you may find you will have to have your leg elevated every hour or so) you shouldn't have to have too much time off at all. And as everyone will tell you, we all heal differently, mine is not going well, and noone seems to know why, but after reading all these other stories that can sometimes happen but for others having the surgery fixes all their problems. Its just the way the dice falls.  Hope things go really well for you.
Arthroscope to repair meniscus tear, 10/04
Arthroscope for Lateral Release & repair another medial meniscal tear, 2/05
"Time heals all wounds"
Gosh I sure hope so !!


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Re: Lateral release post-op course
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2005, 02:13:07 AM »
Thanks Boydy.

I know for a fact that it won't fix my knee problems due to the arthritis that I have.  I'm just becoming really freaked out that it'll make all my problems worse.  I actually question whether I should go ahead to the University Hospital and have them look at me to see if I should even get it done before trying the cartilage replacement surgery.  But I'm scheduled and going in full force.  I'll probably not start PT until Tuesday which is 5 days after surgery (unless they get me in the day after surgery) and waiting would be due to the 4th of July holiday and the fact that the PT office will be closed.


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Re: Lateral release post-op course
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2005, 11:24:10 AM »

This ortho wants to do a lateral release, clean up the torn cartilage and will correct anything else in there that can be done.

If you have questions you could call the OS office and get some answers.  You will probably have a pre-op visit also where you can ask questions. 
You will probably be given physio instructions and receive some physio at the hospital before you go home to learn how to do the exercises.

Good luck,