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Author Topic: Story/Result of my OATs and 2nd ACL  (Read 1921 times)

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Offline picavvi

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Story/Result of my OATs and 2nd ACL
« on: September 23, 2003, 02:23:06 AM »
Hello,  prior to my surgery I needed to get as much info as possible.  Now that I am 6 months post-op I felt it was my turn to give for those who are in the same position I was.  Feel free to contact me for more info.  

I recently had an OATS and 2nd ACL reconstruction.  I tore my ACL for the first time when I was 16 years old (I'm 33 now) going to a basketball camp. I was a gifted athlete and really wanted to spend a life playing sports and at least the first part of it as a professional athlete, preferably basketball.  
When I was 24 I finally underwent an ACL using a patella tendon (never made it to the NBA). The procedure went smoothly and I thought it was a successful operation until about two years ago when I started getting arthritic pains in my knee and many clicking sounds.  The joint would slip at times after my first ACL and I just thought that was par for the course.  Little did I know that the knee should not be doing this after an ACL reconstruction?  But about two years ago the knee started really bothering me.  It was always clicking, scratching, swelling and hurting.
Finally I couldnt do anything.  I went on a ski trip to Tahoe and was too hard on the joints. I needed to see a doctor.  After some visits to Doctors, X-rays and MRIs it was determined that my knee was still unstable and as a result the cartilage surface had rubbed away to the bone.  Some doctors advised that I stop playing sports with impact or sports with stop and go action.  I didn't feel like doing this, not yet.  
It was at this time that I had to way my options and decide on my own what to do.  I decided to undergo another ACL reconstruction using hamstring muscle to tighten the joint and stabilize it and OATs procedure to repair the arthritis.
My defect was at least 10 mm, large but enough for OATs.  I found a doctor that I liked and came with an excellent reputation.
In March I underwent a 2+ hour successful procedure to reconstruct the ACL and undergo an OATs procedure.   Now it was up to me to recover through therapy.  
After surgery I was prone for a few days only getting up on crutches to go to the bathroom and eat for about a week.  At which point I started going to the therapist who massaged the area and provided electrical stimulation.  I began with slowly bending and extending the knee.  Over the next three weeks I continued to ice the knee throughout the day and night while bending and extending the knee.  It wasn't long before I began feeling the difference.  The constant arthritic pains I was feeling prior to surgery were gone, the joint itself felt solid, or more stable.  And this is just within the first few weeks of surgery.  I was elated; my knee had not felt this good since probably when I was 16.  
I started putting partial weight on the joint after 3 weeks.  I remained on two crutches for the full 6 weeks but began to do easy biking exercises, pool exercises and leg raises and minimal weight training.  After 6 weeks I visited the doctor who was pleased with my recovery and gave me the green light to get off the crutches.  I could have gone off the crutches earlier but it was made very clear that I need crutches until 6 weeks post-op.  This was crucial for the plug to heal into the bone.
After the 6 week the joint felt great and I began to be more aggressive in therapy.  I was still seeing the therapist three times a week, I was still icing the knee as much as possible and the joint was still swollen and raw.  But the healing was definitely in full throttle and I was quickly off crutches.
I am now at 6 months post-op and the joint feels great.  I am very active playing limited sports and weight training two to three hours a day.  Because the doctor used my hamstring muscle to reconstruct the ACL, I needed to strengthen the hamstring as it was pretty much useless.  That was a bit frustrating as the muscle took forever to come back, but at 6 months I am definitely better off than I have been in 3 years.  There is still a lot of healing left but at least I am active and knee pain is greatly reduced.  When I am aggressive and do a 10 or 15 minute run the joint followed by a one hour bike ride and half hour weight training session with some plyometrics the knee is sore and I need to ice it.  This should feel better within a few months I hope and will relay in subsequent writings.  
The biggest problem now is hopping on the healing leg.  I have a hard time jump roping on the one leg only or lunging forward on the healing knee and quickly returning to a neutral position.  The pushing back on the leg is definitely slow which leads me to say that the fast twitch muscles have not come back.  But each week I make a little better progress that is noticeable.  The clicking sounds are no longer there.  Instead I do feel new sensations, sometimes pains, and general soreness of the joint.  Sometimes I will get a loud clicking sensation and noise if my joint has been in one position for a long time and I move it.  
But the bottom line is that it's still healing and I'm happy with the recovery, extremely happy. It's almost like i have a 2nd chance.   I wonder if I will be 100% recovered in 6 more months.  I wonder if I'll be able to do all the crazy things I did before.  But I am patient and listen to my body.  I also know that I will maintain a minimum weight from now on and that I will need to maintain general bodily strength and flexibility as long as Im playing sports.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2003, 02:36:54 AM by picavvi »

Offline JG

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Re: Story/Result of my OATs and 2nd ACL
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2003, 02:37:15 AM »
picavvi,

I am assuming your graft for your OATS was an autograft (coming from another part of your knee) or was it an allograft (coming from a cadavar).  Also, where was the defect and how many plugs did you need to fix it?

I am 6 months post allograft that required 18 plugs in a wide range of sizes.  Generally considered a HUGE procedure for this type.  I was completely NWB for 8 weeks and another PWB for 4 weeks.  I had 5 of the larger grafts placed on my medial chondyle which is why I was on crutches so long.  The rest were placed behind the kneecap in the femur and along the lateral chondyle.

At 6 months, I just got permission to start light impact, which means brisk walking and some other stuff like the eliptical trainer, nothing smililar to what you are doing.  I won't have permission to do hopping exercises for another 6 months if ever.  My tibia cartilage (not meniscus) is pretty chewed up.  However, I do feel pretty good.  Still have problems going up and down stairs due to pain/lack of strength issues.

Also, who was your surgeon and who is your insurance carrier?  I am running into some trouble with my insurance carrier after the fact.  

Janice
Sept-99 - L knee LR
Aug-02 - L knee LR/menisectomy
Apr-03 - L Knee Mosaicplasty Using Allograft (18 grafts)/LR/debridement/menisectomy; Right Knee menisectomy.
Apr-04 - L Scope - LR/Lysis Adhesions

Offline picavvi

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Re: Story/Result of my OATs and 2nd ACL
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2003, 03:05:31 AM »
Yes it was an autograft.  Defect was plugged with one 10mm plug from a site deep under the knee cap, on the articular cartilage probably more on the lateral side.   Doctor was based in San Francisco, Antounian.  Blue Cross/Blue Shield was my carrier and they definitely have given me some problems that I'm still working through.  

Offline JG

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Re: Story/Result of my OATs and 2nd ACL
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2003, 08:52:28 PM »
I am with Blue Shield of CA and they still seem to be processing the claim (so they say).  Have they paid the bill for the OATS procedure or are they just stalling at this point?  It sounds like the OATS part was relatively small in nature in comparison to what I had done.  Too much damage to use autograft (just not enough good stuff to chose from).  I would be interested in you keeping me up to date on the insurance stuff.  

Janice
Sept-99 - L knee LR
Aug-02 - L knee LR/menisectomy
Apr-03 - L Knee Mosaicplasty Using Allograft (18 grafts)/LR/debridement/menisectomy; Right Knee menisectomy.
Apr-04 - L Scope - LR/Lysis Adhesions

Offline masconsumer

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Re: Story/Result of my OATs and 2nd ACL
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2004, 09:33:24 PM »
Hi JG!  Your story sounds a lot like mine except I had 20 transplants and they were takin from my own knee.  Do you think your knee will ever be the same?
O.A.T.S. procedure R knee, 10/03
5 Hyalgan shots R knee, Feb/Mar. 04
TKR, R knee, Aug. 2005