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Author Topic: I had a hamstring tendon AND a patellar tendon graft in the same ACL surgery?  (Read 237 times)

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Offline Savvy1610

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On 5/8/2018 I was scheduled for an ACL reconstruction using a hamstring tendon autograft and arthroscopic surgery with possible medial meniscus repair. My surgery was supposed to be one hour long and outpatient and I was to be at the surgery center for three total hours and booked for one hour of OR time. I had multiple opinions and chose a very highly recommended surgeon. He recommended a long lasting nerve block for pain control after surgery. Pre op was fine. I had the block done pre op, and it seemed fine accept I never saw my leg “jump” like I watched on all of the “what to expect videos” but I didn’t complain. Had surgery and woke up in the most excruciating pain of my life. The block had failed. I had no narcotics on board and my body was going into shock. I was shaking so heavily from pain it was terrifying. My knee was wrapped and I couldn’t see the incisions but I could tell you exactly where they were and I knew something wasn’t right. I had this terrible anterior pain, and then I learned it was 11:30am and  I had been in surgery well over three hours and awake for under twenty minutes. I then learned that I had not only had my hamstring tendon grafted and then decided it was “shot” per the surgeon, meaning not in good enough shape, that he grafted my patellar tendon too. Now I have had twice the grafts and zero pain relief. So needless to say that 5/8/18 was excruciating but I’ve been in terrible pain since. All the way up into my hip and down to the back of my ankle. And I have two 4-5inch incisions on my knee as well as three laparoscopic sights. My meniscus was “cleaned up” but overall I’m just unsure went on in the OR. should I be concerned about delayed recovery because of the multiple grafts and large incisions? My surgeon seems to think it’s no big deal and hasn’t really a knowledged it.

Offline alessio_db

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Hi there Savvy1610,
I had the same thing happen when I had my ACL reconstruction about 10 years ago - the hamstring graft ‘failed’ (I think the messed it up) and so they went for the patella tendon graft. The femoral nerve block did work for me though, so I was pain free until about midnight where it all started to kick in pretty bad. The nurses didn’t give me enough meds and it was pretty intense. Eventually it died down and I managed some sleep, only to get a night ‘spasm’ which twinged my hammy which then put me in a world of pain again.

Recovery wise I was on crutches for about 3 weeks, because had a lot of swelling and think I was too mobile the first week so paid for it in the second week. There was a lot of bruising around my leg and it looked pretty bad! I even went to the doctor after week 2 as the pain was so bad walking around - they did an ultrasound to check if I had any DVT but it was all fine. My PT said it was just the swelling which had gone down my leg into the muscles and would eventually clear up. He also said I had to focus on hamstring rehab as well as I had technically had a chunk removed from it, so you’ll have a bit more hamstring specific rehab to try get that muscle back up to strength.

I was running about 6wks post op and then ran 8kms at 8 weeks out. I balanced this with stationary cycling and some aqua-therapy like pool walking to help out. When I saw my surgeon at 3 months they were quite surprised with my progress and said I could return to low to mid impact sports. I think by the year mark it was a forgotten memory and everything was back to at least 95%.

I wouldn’t sweat it for the first few weeks - it’s a down right pain but once that swelling starts to subside I think you’ll really start to see progress. Just do whatever your PT says and focus on getting full ROM in flex and extension. The cuts were just there to get access and they’ll heal in time - as long as you keep the wound clean and change your dressings they should be no issue.