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Author Topic: MPFL surgery  (Read 635 times)

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Offline Mere87

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MPFL surgery
« on: December 10, 2017, 09:05:01 PM »
Hi everyone,

I'm new to kneeguru but thought I would join in hopes someone out there would be able to share their experiences of mpfl surgery.

I dislocated my knee when I was 17 years old when someone fell into me by accident. I never took the rehabilitation seriously and have had over 10-15 dislocations since (I am now 30 years old). I was running a couple of months back and my knee popped out and back in again. I've been having extensive physio since and she identified I'm slightly flat foot and has given me orthotics/ exercises to correct the way my knee sits when I stand etc. She believes if I master this, there is no need for surgery. However, my orthopedic  surgeon suggested he could go in and strengthen/fix my mpfl ligament, with a chance I may never have to experience this again. He also said there is a slight chance it can make things worse (not sure if they have to say that)

I was wondering if anyone could tell me of their success with mpfl surgery? The orthopedic  surgeon has left it upto me basically and suggested I think about what it is i want to do. Quite frankly I'm sick of living with the fear that at any time my knee can give way, it causes me great anxiety so I am leaning towards the surgery.

Any feedback would be much appreciated!


Offline themadgranola

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Re: MPFL surgery
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2018, 04:48:11 PM »
Hi Mere87,

I had a partial reconstruction (they don't do this anymore for good reason!) of the MPFL in 1984 (LK) and 1986 (RK), and then a full MPFL reconstruction on October 23, 2017. I'm in Canada, so your post op recovery experience maybe different from mine.

My surgery was day surgery. My surgeon used an Arthrex MPFL kit to do my surgery (warning, graphic surgical content and video in link: ).

I was prescribed the use of a cooling sleeve (it's an inflated sleeve that has cold water running through it and it compresses and releases pressure around your knee), and the use of a CPM (continuous passive motion machine) for up to 6 weeks after surgery. As I've gone through this before, I can tell you that both of those gadgets were instrumental in my recovery. I wish I had been more rigorous with the use of the CPM machine... as it would have been able to drive sooner than I did (doc said 3 weeks until I drive. it was actually 7 weeks).

I was in a Zimmer splint ( for the first 2 weeks. Once my staples were removed at my first follow-up appointment, I started using a Donjoy J-brace ( I was on crutches for the first week, then one crutch for a few weeks after that when out of the house... and when it started to snow, I used the crutch to steady me in the snow... until just before Christmas. Around the house, I haven't used a crutch since the 3rd week of my recovery. I continued to ice my knee twice a day up until last week. I now ice it when it's swollen (after physio appointments).

Today my flexion is at 103 degrees. It's getting better every day. I go to physio twice a week.

So how does it feel? Weird. It's not pain, so much as it doesn't feel like my other knee. There's a constant tingling. Hopefully, once my flexion is back to normal, and my strength is good, that will lessen. My physio says that I'm not walking like Igor from the monster movies anymore, and that my gait is closer to normal (only a slight limp). I still can't take stairs normally, but hope to do so soon. I still can't get all the way around on the bike. But there are signs that that will happen soon too. I use cross-country ski poles to steady myself while walking my dogs in the snow.

I hope that helps.
Take care,

Offline zendamme

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Re: MPFL surgery
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2018, 05:40:23 PM »

I'm happy to share my experience. Like you, I had a previous dislocation in my teens and by my late twenties had another one. If you can have the MPFL surgery I would say have it, I have 6.5 weeks out and it feels amazing to have a stable kneecap. The pain is bad at first but just stay on top of your pain meds (opioids are a must if you can tolerate them) and do try to walk using your crutches as PWB help. I know all surgeons have different protocols but I had no brace straight away which I think really helped with my progress and regaining strength in my quads. A few days in, I got a CryoCuff ice machine to provide compression and cold around my knee and that really helped with swelling, pain  and regaining ROM. Essential I'd say.

If you can, also start physio from day 1 - I was shown simple things like heel slides, quad sets and just did them little and often at first, resting in between and increasing as tolerated. I was able to do a straight leg raise by Day 10 once the swelling had gone down a bit. Once your quads re-activate progress comes quickly. Now at week 6 I am walking in the house without crutches and just take one with me when I am out for when my leg tires.

As far as PT goes, push through a little discomfort, but not pain and listen to your body when it needs to rest. I've had a few setbacks along the way where I have overdone it/wrenched something/my knee has buckled and I've had to rest more and do less PT temporarily, but I'm still making good progress. 

And I totally understand the anxiety about having an unstable knee; it sucks. To have surgery or not is a personal choice, but so far I am seeing results and happy to now have a stable knee for the first time in years. The rehab takes time and at first it seems like you're working all the time without seeing results, but if you keep at it, your knee will thank you.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2018, 07:06:18 PM by zendamme »