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Author Topic: What is the percentage of knee surgeries that work?  (Read 920 times)

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Offline Scout

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What is the percentage of knee surgeries that work?
« on: May 08, 2007, 12:03:03 AM »
I'm just wondering.  I don't know that I am even a candidate for anything.   As a backpacker I want a fix that will stay.  On the other hand, I don't want to screw up my knee anymore than it is presently.  I read the stories here and you all make me feel pretty blessed with my "little" knee problem.

Offline jathib

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Re: What is the percentage of knee surgeries that work?
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2007, 01:40:56 AM »
Well, you didn't mention what was wrong with your knee, but regardless, I doubt anyone can give you a percentage. For one thing, you'd have to define what you mean by "working". By working do you mean are you pain free, is your knee functioning like before? Speaking from experience, once you injure a knee it's never the same afterwards. I injured mine 34 years and 7 surgeries ago. The surgeries worked as far as doing what they were supposed to do at the time. But I haven't been completely pain free in that time. However, I still managed to live my life. Did some biking, swimming, hiking, etc.

Offline Scout

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Re: What is the percentage of knee surgeries that work?
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2007, 05:46:51 AM »
Well, you didn't mention what was wrong with your knee, but regardless, I doubt anyone can give you a percentage. For one thing, you'd have to define what you mean by "working". By working do you mean are you pain free, is your knee functioning like before? Speaking from experience, once you injure a knee it's never the same afterwards. I injured mine 34 years and 7 surgeries ago. The surgeries worked as far as doing what they were supposed to do at the time. But I haven't been completely pain free in that time. However, I still managed to live my life. Did some biking, swimming, hiking, etc.

So far the information I have is "chondromalcia patella", Left side, apparently the diagnosis was made in December when I first saw the OS, but I didn't find out until I went to urgent care on 5/20/07.  I fell on my knee in either 01 or 02, I honestly don't remember.  Over the next five days my knee kept buckling under me until finally I could not walk.  The VA's diagnosis was meniscul tear, but I seemed to heal.  I did have a revisit of the buckling a year later, but even that went away after a month or two.  I did a backpack 11/10-12/07 carrying 35lbs and going 31 miles.  (dry hike, carried 5 litres of water).  I ended the hike by walking the last twelve miles with a locked knee in severe pain.  That was the first time my knee had bothered me in years.   I had to use crutches and a brace and sit on a stool at work for about 6 weeks, it seemed to resolve soon after that.  Because I did a backpack in late January.  Rockclimbing in February.  And a another backpack in March.  A week after that, the pain began and here I am again.

Working knee for me would mean I could successfully backpack and not further damage the knee doing so, minimal pain would be something I can deal with.  I plan to pick up trekking poles.  I am working on going lighter.

Offline Kai

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Re: What is the percentage of knee surgeries that work?
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2007, 01:45:07 PM »
Go see a sports medicine specialist.  The buckling indicates a ruptured ACL, the locking in a sign of meniscus damage.  If this is in fact your issue, you have a 90% chance of successful surgery as you define it.  Keep banging at it without getting it taken care of and the percentage starts to drop...  big time...     I am not a doctor.  I am speculating.  Please see a specialist.  Good luck
ACLR - (patellar BTB autograft) left knee - May 31, 2006
Partial Lateral Meniscectomy right knee Feb 20, 2008
Partial Lateral Meniscectomy right knee Aug 11, 2008

Offline jathib

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Re: What is the percentage of knee surgeries that work?
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2007, 01:50:14 PM »
Well, here's the thing about a meniscus tear. They don't heal, ever, unless they are small and close to the edge. The reason is because they don't have a blood supply. However, even if it's torn you won't necessarily have pain all the time so you might think it has healed but it hasn't. Having a locked knee is a good sign of a meniscus tear. You can live with a torn meniscus, and even hike with one but the chances of causing further damage are very high. I walked on a torn meniscus for 17 years. My knee locked many times over those years and I'd yank on it to get it unlocked. Then one day it stayed locked and off to surgery I went. It was torn nearly in half and I already had arthritis at that point. When I first injured my knee I had a torn ACL which was just removed because they didn't have fancy surgery back in those days. The instability led to me tearing my meniscus. The ACL was eventually rebuilt but the torn meniscus proved to be the worst injury. It has continued to dog me all these years and was removed a piece at a time because I kept tearing it. I had a PKR back in December because the arthritis had progressed.

There really is no permanent fix for a meniscus tear. You can backpack for as long as you can stand the pain but you will cause further damage. How fast that damage will occur varies from person to person. I lasted 34 years from initial injury to PKR but I was only 15 when I first tore up my knee. Others are lucky to make it two years. Just keep your knee strong.

Offline Scout

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Re: What is the percentage of knee surgeries that work?
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2007, 09:45:43 PM »
Well, there is no sign of ACL damage, we've been over the MRI's twice now with two different doctors.  As to whether or not meniscus can heal, I already knew that it was highly improbable just for what's been mentioned, cartiledge has little blood supply.  I've known that for a while.  That's the reason why you don't pierce cartiledge if you are intelligent, infection is a problem.  I still can't understand why girls or guys for that matter have their ears pierced in places other than their lobes.

Anyways, the tear (2001, I have figured out the dates) was close to the edge, if you look at the MRI now, you can see it is precisely where the thinning is.  So, miracle of miracles, it DID heal.  I am blessed!

I know you are not supposed to stage chondromalcia patella without scoping it, but I pressed the doctor for his best answer based on the MRI.  He said it would be stage two based on that, but only a guess at best.  Here is how the shot went, (I am copying and pasting from my myspace blog) :

Just got back from sports medicine. Had my first shot, cortisone. It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would, but it was no walk in the park. When we talked about it, I asked him if it was true that multiple shots could actually do more harm to the joint than good, and he agreed that it was true, but that he was only doing this one, and if it worked, my next shot would be Synvisc in two weeks.
 
As he prepared the needle, I asked him, "you are going to numb me first, right? Spray or SOMEthing?" "Oh yeah, definetly. He sprayed it for a long time, and then suddenly, it got cold; thank God, just before the shot. . . It stung some and then he asked if I was feeling any pressure, I said "no. . ." and then "uh
y e e e s s s s s

But I survived. It hurts some now, but I have taken some extra Diclofenac (Volteran). I got a new knee brace, one that is appropriate for a mal-tracking patella. It feels weird, the brace on my kneecap.

I hope to be pain free in a week or so. I don't think at this point I can say that I WILL go for short-term disability. I hope that I can take the Synvisc shot in two weeks and go back to work.   We shall see

« Last Edit: May 08, 2007, 10:05:58 PM by Scout »