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Author Topic: Facing surgery #15... a TKR at age 31...Talk to me!!!  (Read 3766 times)

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Offline Murph5424

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Facing surgery #15... a TKR at age 31...Talk to me!!!
« on: November 18, 2016, 03:40:36 AM »
I have had 14 previous surgeries... A few scopes, ACI, Donor graft, 2 Lateral releases, 2 TTO's, and a trial for stem cells to replace cartilage.  I was the 6th patient in the country and my doctors first for the stem cell trial.  No pressure.  I got two years out of that one.  My doctor, who I think the world of, officially gave up yesterday and is sending me to a knee replacement specialist.  I have done cortisone, synvisc, other injections, CPM, and years of PT.

I just turned 31 and I have been dealing with these knee issues/surgeries for about 8 years now.  Having an amazing doctor who never dismissed me and never gave up was a blessing.  Now he gives up.  I don't see the specialist for almost 3 months. 

So, what do I do?  I guess I am unraveling trying to make a decision before I even see the specialist but I need to hear from people around my age to help me.  I need to know the questions I need to ask before I see him. 

I found a lot of post on here from years ago of people who have had TKR at similar ages but no follow up years later.  Wondering if it is a good or bad decision? 

The way my Doctor and I are looking at it is I could have the replacement now... and have some crappy years down the line when I run out of options.... Or, I could have crappy years now in my 30s and 40s, then get a replacement when my whole body is a disaster because I walk so crooked.  My other knee, my hips, and back are already being affected.  So, please tell me your stories.

I know about the recovery, PT, pain, ect.  I want to hear personal stories as to why you would or would not do it if you had to go back, things to ask, how you are feeling years later.  Would love to hear from people of all ages if you can give me any insight.

Also, sorry this post is all over the place.  My mind is spinning after just reading so many threads.  Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!

I was previously on this site when all my issues started but I couldn't get my username cause I don't use that email anymore.  The site was so helpful when I was thrown in to this world!

Offline marilynjoy

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Re: Facing surgery #15... a TKR at age 31...Talk to me!!!
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2016, 11:34:18 AM »
So, hello,
I  feel for you to be going through this at your age.  Can't answer your questions  as to what you should do in your situation. I  was told at sixty that I had a stuffed knee , but I was too young for a replacement. I took out insurance and waited a year and had my surgery privately, I  decided I would rather be fit now, who knows what will happen later.
Also these surgeries are improving  as time goes on, you be guided by your surgeon, and I wish you the best of luck.
By the way, I  am totally pain free in my replaced knee . 😀

Offline mulberrysdream

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Re: Facing surgery #15... a TKR at age 31...Talk to me!!!
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2016, 07:01:46 AM »
I just booke a consult with a top joint replacement specialist....after 8 surgeries (6 in the past [email protected] months)....and being told that I've been "humbling" by one of the top complex knee specialists in the's time to explore this option, as it seems my efforts to put it off are not being very successful despite doing everything to protocol.

For what it's worth I've begun chatting with a 30 year old woman who had a tke 4 weeks ago...and she is convinced it's the greatest thing she's ever done. She also asked her surgeon about even younger patients such as myself...and he didn't seem to think it was an issue at all. He just swaps out some sort of disk.

I'll learn more on December 12th and let you know! It's the last thing I want...but I need my life back.
Right Knee-
MT Menisectomy, Chondroplasty, 10/16
MT Repair, Chondroplasty, Clean out+ BMAC/PRP7/16
Meniscus Transplant & OATs 8/15
Notchplasty,Osteophyte Removal,Prep for MT/OATs 7/15
loose body removal, menisectomy- 4/15
Menisctomy, loose body removal1/14
Lateral Release08
Meniscus Repar 07

Offline mtsarpilot

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Re: Facing surgery #15... a TKR at age 31...Talk to me!!!
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2016, 02:56:56 PM »
You are most definitely young, but if your quality of life is dramatically affected to the point that you can't enjoy your 30's and 40's, that's an important factor.  Another important factor is how active is your lifestyle.  That effects the wear and tear on the TKR and how much the current knee is a limiter. 

You ask for stories so I'll give you a little background on mine.  I'm early 50's.  Shattered the Patella 11 years ago and it did a lot of damage as it went back through my knee in the fall.  I've been bone on bone for 7 or 8 years now.  4 surgeries, injections, etc. along the way to try to keep the knee going and it was just getting too bad to keep functioning.  I live a HIGHLY active Colorado lifestyle.  Endurance road cycling, mountain biking, former ski instructor so I ski steeps and moguls, backcountry skiing, rock climbing, ice climbing, tennis, hiking, backpacking, the list goes on.  My #1 concern was how long the replacement would last.  #2 was how they deal with the metal still in my Patella and had to find a surgeon that knew what to do.

My next door neighbor is a highly respected PT in the field and she convinced me it was time for the TKR.  Similar guidance to what you are hearing from your doctor.  I can enjoy the next 20 years while I am in the active phase of my lifestyle with a TKR, or can give up my lifestyle and delay the inevitable.  I finally relented and had it done 2 weeks ago. 

I did a lot of research to seek out the best surgeon and practice I could find in the area, Colorado Joint Replacement Center is where I chose.  They say the modern devices they are putting in last about 30 years.  With my active lifestyle and use model they expect more like 20. This was corroborated by many others I investigated in the research.  The good news is they will monitor me every year and if the bearing surface (the hard plastic surface on the Tibial Plateau) is starting to wear and it is caught early, they can surgically replace it which is simple and not bone or metal affecting.  With that you purchase another round of years. 

In your situation, I would suggest going to someone that specializes in knee replacement, not the local orthopedist.  Talk with them about your lifestyle and use model.  You may find there is a plan that enables you to have an active lifestyle through your 30's to 60's without much risk of being knee crippled.  Even with today's implants, if you get 20 years out of it and nothing more, by that time medical science will have advanced so much the revision TKR will get you another 20+ years.  By then, lifestyle is slowing down anyway.

This is all of course assuming all goes well.  No-one can promise it will be perfect and you won't have complications along the way.  That uncertainty was the hardest part in my mind when contemplating this decision.

In the end, this is your life.  Take the time to do the research and get it right. You'll know when you are comfortable with your decision.
9/05 - Patella fracture - 5 pieces in rock climbing fall, ORIF, 3 screws & figure 8 wire
5/06 - HW Out
7/06 - Back to full activity
7/09 - Custom brace created to support knee during activity
11/15 - Surgery to clean up meniscus, remove osteophytes, attempt to get more life out of knee
11/16 - TKR

Offline Caroll

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Re: Facing surgery #15... a TKR at age 31...Talk to me!!!
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2018, 10:41:37 PM »
I read your story. I am very active runer & farmer  working at exercise physiologist. What imlant did you have. I need one that allows me to return to my activities. Thank you