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Author Topic: Arthofibrosis success with Dr. Eakin - there is hope!!  (Read 211 times)

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Offline amyjoe101

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Arthofibrosis success with Dr. Eakin - there is hope!!
« on: April 11, 2022, 06:13:41 AM »
About a year ago I found myself desperately searching the depths of the internet wondering what was wrong with me... why was my body failing there any hope?

TLDR: If you are struggling with arthrofibrosis, know that it is not your fault and there is hope. Find a doctor who knows how to treat arthrofibrosis (Dr. Eakin).

I am 24F. Initial injury was a tibial spine avulsion (ACL tear where instead of your ACL tearing, a fragment of your bone fractures off) and MCL tear from skiing accident. This happened in late February 2021. To complicate things further, I had a DVT (blood clot) in my injured leg they found before my first surgery, but that is a story for another time.

This is a summary of my journey with arthrofibrosis:

3/8/21: Initial surgery to repair fracture and MCL tear
   - locked in brace straight for 3 weeks, 50% weight bearing
   - When I was cleared to start bending, could not get more than ~30/40 degrees flexion. Started going to PT 3-5x a week with little to no improvement in flexion. ​Surgeon diagnosed me with arthrofibrosis and recommended a manipulation under anesthesia (MUA) and Lysis of Adhesions (LOA)
   - Quote from surgeon "this was a very large injury however she became very stiff and developed arthrofibrosis. She has tried and failed conservative management" At this point, I felt like I failed to rehab correctly from this injury and surgery, but was optimistic at what another surgery could do.

6/3/21: 2nd Surgery MUA & LOA
   - Significant scar tissue removed in suprapatellar pouch and other areas and performed manipulation (aka forcing your knee to move while your out). On operating table, ROM 0 to 145 degrees.
   - The weeks following this surgery were extremely frustrating, depressing, and hopeless. I took a leave from work to focus fully on recovery, was going to PT nearly every day, doing my exercises recommended by PTs and surgeon multiple times a day. Yet I was in the most pain I had experienced, was having troublesleeping, and was diagnosed with mild depression. I was crying nearly every day and could not make it through a doctor's appointment without crying.
   - At 2 week follow-up my flexion was 80 degrees. My surgeon wrote in the notes "Overall she is very frustrated with her progress. She does not have any actual scar tissue in her knee but she has developed a fear of moving her knee where she has fear of version and she is fighting any motion with her knee both in extension and flexion. This is due to significant anxiety about her knee." I was prescribed valium to help help my "anxiety" and continued with intense physical therapy.

August 2021
My ROM was ~10 to 90 degrees.  At this point I was severely limping and used a cane regularly to walk around and was no where near where I wanted to be for the rest of my life. I demanded another MRI which showed extensive scar tissue/arthrofibrosis. The surgeon that performed my first two surgeries suggested another MUA, without arthroscopy.

This was when I really started looking for other options and doctors. I thought my arthrofibrosis was caused by my body's inability to heal and alleged anxiety to move my knee. I had no trust in my surgeon who made me feel like this was the rarest case he had ever seen and it was partly my fault I was here.

Thank goodness for knee guru. I made an appointment with Dr. Millett at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, CO, but then I found that there was a doctor in the bay area (I am from Northern California) that did a fellowship at the Steadman Clinic and was recommended on this site, Dr. Eakin. I made an appointment with Dr. Eakin and got in quickly.

I could not recommend Dr. Eakin and his team more. He explained that arthrofibrosis is very common with the initial injury I had (sometimes they will do surgery in 2 stages with this injury to prevent arthrofibrosis). He also explained how traumatic MUA's are for your body (typically causes more scar tissue from the trauma). He recommended a arthroscopy with LOA, anterior release and synovectomy with lateral retinacular release. I immediately booked a surgery.

8/23/21: 3rd Surgery w/ Dr. Eakin
I woke up from this surgery incredibly grateful. Apparently, I was giggling at how straight my leg was when I woke up. If it says anything, in my past 2 surgeries I took pain meds for ~2 weeks. After this surgery I did not take a single pain pill. I continued with PT 2-3x a week my ROM progressed slowly but surely:
   - 4 weeks out ROM was ~6-95
   - 10 weeks out ROM was ~1-110
   - 7 months out ROM was ~2-144

I still am not where I want to be, but I have confidence I can and will get there. I went skiing again this season (only after Dr. Eakin encouraged me to go). He truly cares about his patients and even pushed me to share my story because he knows how hard arthrofibrosis can be and how low patients get. I feel like he will not give up on me and my goals. At my last appointment, he gave me several options to consider to move forward. I am so grateful!

Offline DogfacedGirl

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Re: Arthofibrosis success with Dr. Eakin - there is hope!!
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2022, 10:10:40 AM »
Hi Amyjoe,

Thanks for posting about your success story, it's great that there are good surgeons out there who won't do MUAs and that surgery can work!

I'm appalled that your first surgeon blamed you for your arthrofibrosis and put you on Valium. It's also interesting that after your last surgery you had a lot less pain than previously, no doubt thanks to your surgeon's skills.

1999 Osteoarthritis both knees, chondroplasty
2004 MACI graft L knee
2005 MACI graft both knees
2007 MACI graft R knee
2007 Patella baja
2011 TKR both knees
2011 arthrofibrosis