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Author Topic: surgery or not?  (Read 2035 times)

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Offline NAVY GUY

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surgery or not?
« on: October 21, 2013, 11:18:49 PM »
26 year old male here recently ruptured my ACL as well as partially tore MCL and Menisci. I understand most of you may not understand how the military works but they exhaust all options prior to even considering surgrey. I have been in Physical Therapy for about 3 weeks not and have not seen any improvements on my knee. My surgeon has informed me that people aren't even having surgrey to repair these things anymore. He believes i shouldn't do it but none the less it is my decision. My wife and i are trying to start a family, and i still love to play sports and the thought of never competing again either softball, basketball or football sounds awful. Does anyone have some advice they can provide me with on what exactly i should do?

Offline Snowy

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Re: surgery or not?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2013, 03:53:22 AM »
I'm afraid I can't help on how to deal with the military medical system, since this isn't something I've ever experienced. However, I can express my very deep reservations about how I would feel about a surgeon making a statement like this:

Quote
My surgeon has informed me that people aren't even having surgrey to repair these things anymore

It's true that some people are able to cope without an ACL (and equally true that some are not) but he's ignoring around 100,000 people who opt for ACL reconstruction each year. Here's one source article confirming that number; a quick Google search pulls up many others from authoritative sources.

http://www.aaos.org/news/aaosnow/jul09/research1.asp

You're right that this is your decision. It's reasonable to give PT a decent try to find out if you may be able to cope without an ACL (keeping in mind that this isn't without some long-term risks, like increased wear and tear on the cartilage), but if you persist with it and your knee still isn't improving then you may want to begin exploring other options. Definitely read up on the pros and cons of ACL surgery, because it's not a walk in the park and rehab is lengthy and not much fun, but it is a commonly performed surgery with a good success rate.

Your surgeon seems to be dead set against surgery without consideration for your sporting goals or life choices. Do your own research (the Information Hub here at KG is a great place to start), see how your knee progresses, and seek a second opinion if you need to. And good luck!
Mar 11: R Biceps femoris tear (skiing)
Jul 10: ACLr (hamstring autograft)
Mar 10: L ACL rupture (skiing)
Feb 06: L partial ACL tear (kickboxing)
Dec 03: R bone edema (motorbike)
Jan 01: R patellar chip (motorbike)
May 93: R ACL sprain (hockey)
Ongoing: bilateral PFS and OA

Offline Audice

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Re: surgery or not?
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2013, 01:02:38 PM »
When you're 67 as I was when I did the same sort of damage to my knee that you've done to yours, & you're told by your orthopedic surgeon that ACLr is not in the offing, that's bad enough. But to be your age & not given the option would have me concerned.

I do have a friend who played in a basketball league, not pro tho, for a number of years with no ACL in one knee. He managed just fine but he spent a lot of time at the gym building strong quads.

Eight years ago I wondered how well I'd be able to manage w/o the ACL in my right knee but I'm managing just fine. I'm not riding horses any longer but I do still work at the farm & handle horses all the time.

Given that ACLr is elective surgery, if the military isn't offering it to you & you're not a career man, how about waiting til you're service time is over to have the reconstruction done?

Wishing you well...Ellie
April, 2005 - ACL rupture, medial meniscus tear within posterior horn to articular surface, abnormal signal within lateral meniscus, partial tear MCL, bone contusions tibia/fibula, Baker's cyst.
No repairs.

Offline nwc07

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Re: surgery or not?
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2013, 01:48:30 PM »
You have the right to a second opinion - even in the military however, 3 weeks is not very long for PT to show results.  What are your symptoms? 
09/10- left knee subluxation..

Offline libero6

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Re: surgery or not?
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2013, 08:33:22 PM »
Hey Navy Guy,

Sorry to hear about your injury. The decision on surgery is certainly difficult and different for everyone. My doctor tells me that it really depends on your lifestyle and how stable your knee is... I'm also in my mid-20's and am really active (basketball, soccer, ultimate are my main sports). I tore my ACL in April of this year, rehabbed it for about 4 months, and started playing again in August. I've been playing twice a week on two division one teams and am able to cut and sprint just as hard as I did pre-injury. For me though, I had a full ACL tear, and partial tears on the LCL and MCL, and no meniscus damage. From what I gather, a partially torn meniscus may bug you when you try to do your rehab exercises (you may be able to fix that with a less invasive arthroscopic surgery though)

When my doctor does the laxity tests on my knee, he definitely notices my ACL-less knee is more loose, but he mentions that when I'm playing, my muscles are fired up and they will be able to compensate for the lack of ACL. I'm still not sure if not going with the surgery right away is the best choice, but I've been playing for the past two months now and am really happy with my knee's performance on and off the field. I don't have to worry about it at all. It has never gave way or felt unstable.

That's just my story though and everyone is different. Keep asking questions and gather as much information as you can (from doctors, people on this board, and most importantly your own knee - how does it feel to you?) to make a decision you are at peace with. All the best with your knee.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2013, 08:37:21 PM by libero6 »

Offline DaTexanBoy

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Re: surgery or not?
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2013, 12:48:04 PM »
Are you dealing with the VA or the medical doctors at your duty assignment?

Dealing with the VA, like I am stuck with right now, your well stuck unless you use your TriCare and go see a civilian doctor. That is one option.

If it's a military doctor at your duty assignment, your pretty much stuck, BUT you can request to get a second opinion or see if you can get referred off base to see a civilian doctor.

Good luck. I'm dealing with the VA and it's no fun.

Offline Owie72

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Re: surgery or not?
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2013, 02:11:02 AM »
I was 29 when I tore my ACL. I dicided to pass on sergery. It felt strong after a couple of years wearing a brace when i was playing.. The injury was non existent for the next 9 years. So I thought. I dislocated it a few weeks ago for the first time sence l quit wearing the brace. Because of the lack of an ACL the trauma was pretty devistating. Now i am facing meniscus repare, ACL reconstruction, and osteochondral lesion repair via OATS allograft (cadaver bone/cartilage plugs) at 41. I will probably never sprint again. I'll miss it. And I'll tell you, you don't heal the same later. Success of any  sergical procedure depends a lot on your age. Good luck.

Offline libero6

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Re: surgery or not?
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2013, 10:26:50 PM »
I was 29 when I tore my ACL. I dicided to pass on sergery. It felt strong after a couple of years wearing a brace when i was playing.. The injury was non existent for the next 9 years. So I thought. I dislocated it a few weeks ago for the first time sence l quit wearing the brace.

Sorry to hear about your knee Owie72  :(

If you don't mind me asking, how did you dislocate your knee..? This may be a tougher question to answer, but do you think getting the reconstruction earlier would have prevented the dislocation? Best of luck.

Offline Owie72

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Re: surgery or not?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2014, 06:46:45 AM »
Sorry so late with the response. But yes. I do think that if I had ACL reconstruction ten years ago my chances would have been a lot better. There are missing parts when you have atorn ACL. Its not the end of the world or anything like that. There are NFL athletes playing w/o ACLs. But by the time they retire the knee is shot. To name a few I have jogged, snowboarded,played football, motocross,on a missing ACL knee. But the one totally random time I was playing basketball and came down a little off, I dislocated it. I tore up alot of cartilage. Even with all of the advances in technology cartilage repair is a real challenge. Avoid it if you can.















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