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Author Topic: can you have knee surgery while pregnant?  (Read 21112 times)

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Offline sarahg

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can you have knee surgery while pregnant?
« on: July 25, 2004, 03:42:51 AM »
I was scheduled to have surgery for a torn meniscus and found out I was pregnant two days before the surgery. My doctor cancelled the surgery and told me there wasn't anything he could do for me- "see you in nine months". My knee is swollen and I have a Baker's cyst in the back that has already been there for four months.  I already have problems with the knee giving out on me and can't imagine what it's going to be like as the pregnancy progresses. Is there anything I can do?

Offline Heather M.

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Re: can you have knee surgery while pregnant?
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2004, 04:09:45 AM »
I know someone who had surgery on her knee while she was pregnant.  She had to have spinal anesthesia and was limited to Vicodin for pain control (no advil or anything like that) but the doctor believed her knee was too unstable to withstand the weight gain and ligamentous laxity of pregnancy.

I think she had to wait until she was four months along, though.  

You may want to talk to your doctor again and see what he can offer you to get through the next nine months--an unloader brace might help take weight from the damaged area, or at least something to provide stability.

My doctor has told me if I want to have a baby I would have to use crutches or at the very least a cane throughout any pregnancy.  And I'd need to lose a lot of weight first, and keep my weight gain during pregancy limited to 20 pounds or so.  I'm kind of hopeful I'll meet the guy I'd like to have children with first, though  ::)  Something that can also be difficult when you have major knee issues.

It may be a matter of finding another doctor or explaining to this one how you don't believe your knee will hold up.  I will tell you though that I've had to do a pregancy test before each surgery, even though I take the Pill!  They don't want to mess around with liability, and surgery during a pregnancy is best avoided if possible.  But if the knee problem is severe enough that the patient lacks stability and could fall, I would think that would be worth considering.

The recovery sure wasn't any fun, according to my friend.  Tylenol and Vicodin aren't the best pain relief out there, and she could take nothing for her swelling.  But she had a lateral release and menisectomy, and it sounds like your procedure would be a lot more straightforward.  It could be that your doctor was saying that HE wouldn't do a surgery on you during pregnancy.

The other thing to do is find an OB/GYN and discuss the concerns you have with him/her.  They could be a powerful ally, or they could tell you that you need to wear a brace and do supportive therapy for a few months.  To be honest, though, I don't see how you could take care of an infant while recovering from knee surgery!  So I think it would be a lot more than 9 months before you could have the surgery done.

The good news is that there is nothing 'emergency' about a torn meniscus unless your leg is locked and you can't bend or straighten it.  Otherwise, it can make you very unhappy, but it won't threaten your health.  Maybe your OS feels that the surgery poses a bigger risk?


Scope #1: LR, part. menisectomy w/cyst, chondroplasty
#2-#5: Lysis of adhesions/scar tissue, AIR, patellar tendon debridement, infections, MUA, insufflation
#6: IT band release / Z-Plasty, synovectomy, LOA/AIR, chondroplasty
2006 Arthrofibrosis, patella baja

Offline jathib

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Re: can you have knee surgery while pregnant?
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2004, 04:53:41 AM »
Surgery, especially the anesthesia can put your baby at risk. If it was an emergency then they would probably go ahead and do it but I doubt your doctor wants to risk your baby's health for a torn meniscus. I walked on a torn one for 17 years and I've had a Baker's cyst for several years. It won't kill you and if it were me I would not want to put my baby's health at risk.

If you don't have the surgery what you need to do is be absolutely religious about exercising your knee. You have to get it strong which is something you need to do anyway so you might as well start. Biking or swimming would be best.

Offline maxfactor

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Re: can you have knee surgery while pregnant?
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2004, 01:14:02 AM »
I had to wear knee braces the whole time I was pregnant, due to instability. (I had already had bilateral patellectomy). I hated them, but they worked. I would wait if I were you. Not worth the risk. My OBGYN prescribed the braces. She was very worried about how I would do. I was so huge (and high blood pressure) I got stuck on bedrest the last month. My braces were custom fitted. I don't know what they were called. It was 10yrs ago. But they put casts on both legs first, then made them.

Good luck to you,
12 knee surgeries. bilateral patellectomy 22yrs ago. chronic pain, major narcotics. Still looking for help with pain. 42yrs old.