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Yet another knee surgery thread
Old 09-22-2016, 09:55 PM   #1
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Yet another knee surgery thread

I thought I'd carry this over here from the "What did you do today?" thread.

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Tomorrow (Thursday), I have a doctor appointment that I have been dreading and putting off for over a decade. It's nothing serious at all, and no matter what he says I won't be any worse off, but I just personally happen to dread going and it's with a new doctor that I don't even know.
OK, I went and the orthopedic surgeon that I don't know impressed me as a very intelligent, competent, and sensible doctor. Whew, what a relief! After examining the x-rays, he told me that both knees are bone on bone and need knee replacements. I gather this is due to age, overweight, and degenerative arthritis. They wore out.

My symptoms have persisted for at least 20 years but have been bearable and I have not been eager to have surgery. It's that thing I have about inviting someone with a sharp scalpel to cut me open, ewwww.... My knees got fairly trashed during my move into my new house during the summer of 2015. I chose to have cataract surgery in 2015, which was even more important, and that seemed like enough for one year. But now it is time to see about my knees.

For now, the surgeon gave me an NSAID to take until my next appointment and I will be dropping 25 pounds ASAP.

I have to come back in 3 weeks for the Synvisc shots and then he can do the surgery. As he spoke, I got the definite impression that he is pretty sure the shots won't work. He kept talking about WHEN he does the surgery, not IF he does the surgery, and so on, and saying things like "after that we'll schedule your surgeries and get this taken care of". So, I am speculating that maybe Medicare requires one or two cheaper options to be tried before they will pay for surgery. Who knows? Not me.

I am fairly crippled with pain right now and a couple of weeks ago I had to start using a walker like an old lady despite my deliciously youthful age of 68. That was huge ego blow, but pain trumps ego every time and it really helps. Hopefully with the help of this doctor I'll be able to ditch it eventually.

I'll update this thread as my quest for good knees progresses. Rayinpenn also described his experiences within the past year and I plan to read and study his several threads on this topic. They are easy to find if you search on threads he began in the past year, in this "Health and Early Retirement" subforum. And Khan and others have also posted on this topic here. I just thought I should start my own thread instead of hijacking one of theirs.
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:04 PM   #2
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Bummer, but at least the doc sounds firm in what needs to be done to stop the pain. Will you have both replacements done at the same time or one after you recover from the first?


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Old 09-22-2016, 10:18 PM   #3
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Bummer, but at least the doc sounds firm in what needs to be done to stop the pain. Will you have both replacements done at the same time or one after you recover from the first?
Gee, now that you mention it, I don't know! We didn't talk about that yet. I would hope one at a time, but need to talk it over with him first and get his advice. I think that will be part of the surgery scheduling, that we will do after the shots don't work.
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:25 PM   #4
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I had my left knee replaced after 15 years of painful walking. After 35 years of working on 4 foot thick concrete floors and a number of bad habits it was also bone on bone. It was the best thing I've ever done. Just keep up wth the physical therapy after the surgery. Best of luck.
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:27 PM   #5
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I had my left knee replaced after 15 years of painful walking. After 35 years of working on 4 foot thick concrete floors and a number of bad habits it was also bone on bone. It was the best thing I've ever done. Just keep up wth the physical therapy after the surgery. Best of luck.
Thank you! That is very encouraging. But what about your right knee? Everywhere that left knee went on those concrete floors, your right knee did too (or so I would imagine). I hope it isn't causing you any trouble so far.
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:34 PM   #6
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My SO has had both his knees done one year apart . The first one He was in the hospital for two nights and then did outpatient rehab. The second surgery He was in overnight and then did outpatient rehab . The rehab lasted three weeks . He is two months post surgery and back to normal . He used a walker for a few days following surgery and then used a cane for a few days .He feels great . No pain .
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:36 PM   #7
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Oh...I'm sorry to hear you are having problems with your knees. However, it's certainly a plus that you have a lot of confidence in your doctor.

I've never experienced knee problems (yet), but I've always heard therapy is key. There's no doubt in my mind you will stick to it and be just fine.
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:40 PM   #8
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Thanks Moemg and BbbamI.
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:42 PM   #9
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Thank you! That is very encouraging. But what about your right knee? Everywhere that left knee went on those concrete floors, your right knee did too (or so I would imagine). I hope it isn't causing you any trouble so far.
I had a very bad habit of propping my feet up on my desk with a large computer listing book on top of my legs and my left knee was always the one that took all the strain. I also had a bad habit of folding my left leg under me when sitting in a chair. So far no problems at all with the right knee.
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:43 PM   #10
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My neighbour, who is late 60s, had both his knees done in the past 18 months. He is very, very happy with the results. He is back out in the bush hunting after barely missing a beat it seems. Very mobile and essentially pain free he says.
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:53 PM   #11
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Good luck with the knees. I am pretty sure Medicare requires the less invasive treatments before they sign off on replacements. These days, the procedure to replace is much better than 10 years ago.

BIL had both knees done a year apart and plays golf now. This is even after his heart transplant. He's trooper at 76 years old.

I had one replaced hip due to long distance running abuse over decades. No knee issues at my age (72) thankfully.
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:55 PM   #12
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I had a very bad habit of propping my feet up on my desk with a large computer listing book on top of my legs and my left knee was always the one that took all the strain. I also had a bad habit of folding my left leg under me when sitting in a chair. So far no problems at all with the right knee.
That's great! Glad to hear it. Sounds like that heavy computer listing book and/or folding your left leg under you contributed substantially to the problem in your left knee.
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My neighbour, who is late 60s, had both his knees done in the past 18 months. He is very, very happy with the results. He is back out in the bush hunting after barely missing a beat it seems. Very mobile and essentially pain free he says.
That sounds like an idea outcome. I will be very happy if I can get back some mobility with a reduction of pain.
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:59 PM   #13
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W2R - wow - that's a lot to take in. Have you considered that the ortho surgeon is pushing surgery because that is the solution he is most familiar with. If you have a hammer everything looks like a nail....

That said - if it's the right solution, I hope he does a great job and you get relief.

I've been having my own knee problems of late... but it seems to be improving. Knock on simulated wood grain surfaces... I won't need to see a doctor about my knee.
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Old 09-22-2016, 11:01 PM   #14
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Good luck with the knees. I am pretty sure Medicare requires the less invasive treatments before they sign off on replacements. These days, the procedure to replace is much better than 10 years ago.

BIL had both knees done a year apart and plays golf now. This is even after his heart transplant. He's trooper at 76 years old.

I had one replaced hip due to long distance running abuse over decades. No knee issues at my age (72) thankfully.
That Medicare requirement must be why he is giving me the shots, then. He seemed to think my knees were pretty badly deteriorated so I wondered why he'd bother but that explains it. Glad to hear a confirmation that the knee replacement procedure is much better now. I had heard rumors of that but wasn't sure. Your BIL is really something! Wow. Glad you haven't had knee issues; the mobility problems they pose after a while can be pretty bad.
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Old 09-22-2016, 11:02 PM   #15
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All the best...from another bone-on-bone type, who was told, after arthroscopy in 1998, and again in 2001, that "Sooner or later" I'll need both knees done.

My late wife's mother, now in her mid-eighties, has had both of her knees replaced....I remember her telling me that, the morning after the second one when her nurse caught her climbing out of bed and asked her what she thought she was doing, "I know the drill, I have to get this thing moving".
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Old 09-22-2016, 11:07 PM   #16
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W2R - wow - that's a lot to take in. Have you considered that the ortho surgeon is pushing surgery because that is the solution he is most familiar with. If you have a hammer everything looks like a nail....

That said - if it's the right solution, I hope he does a great job and you get relief.

I've been having my own knee problems of late... but it seems to be improving. Knock on simulated wood grain surfaces... I won't need to see a doctor about my knee.
I found out about this surgeon from two or three other women at the gym who had gone to him. They all said he wasn't eager to do surgery on them and one never did get surgery out of him. I think the reason he is pushing surgery might be that I waited so long. He kept asking why I didn't see a doctor before. Well, cluck cluck. If the shots work, I'll tell him and I won't let him push me into surgery. It is encouraging to read that your knee problems are improving right now; that would be wonderful. I am hoping your knee problems get completely better. Mine just keep getting worse and worse and worse...
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Old 09-22-2016, 11:13 PM   #17
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All the best...from another bone-on-bone type, who was told, after arthroscopy in 1998, and again in 2001, that "Sooner or later" I'll need both knees done.
Thanks. My mother was told at age 83 that she needed both knees done, and she told her doctor that she probably wouldn't live very long so she wouldn't bother. Well, she lived another 15 years... And, she had bad knee pain that whole time. I think I'd be better off than she was, since I'll be having the surgery while I am still a young thing of 68.
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My late wife's mother, now in her mid-eighties, has had both of her knees replaced....I remember her telling me that, the morning after the second one when her nurse caught her climbing out of bed and asked her what she thought she was doing, "I know the drill, I have to get this thing moving".
Wow, she's tough! That's so admirable.
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Old 09-22-2016, 11:20 PM   #18
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Wow, she's tough! That's so admirable.
I was talking with her the other day.....she's in an 'old folks home' now, and likely organizing everyone!

Yeah, she's tough, had six kids, three of whom predeceased her; one (my late wife) through cancer, the other two in vehicle accidents......she keeps on, just like the Energizer Bunny.
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Old 09-22-2016, 11:25 PM   #19
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My right knee is bone on bone and the left is not too far from being that bad. I have so far gone to a non-surgical orthopedist. (He is not hard set against surgery and would gladly refer people to surgical orthopedists. in fact I started with him 12 yrs ago with wrist pain that eventually needed referral and successful tendonitis surgery).

Anyway, we started with physical therapy. This was to strengthen the muscles around the knees. It has helped greatly. So sometimes those x-rays and even MRI's can be a bit misleading, or so I was told. Yes, I had both. At this point, i am on only one naproxen sodium tablet per day, and the pain is quite tolerable. SO, I wonder why physical therapy was not mentioned for you. The shots will be the next option. I am also working on losing about 40 lbs..lots of leafy greens for me.

Surgery will also be in my future should I live long enough, I expect. But, am well motivated to put it off for as long as possible.
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Old 09-22-2016, 11:28 PM   #20
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That's great, mamadogmamacat! I'm glad to hear that you are doing so well. My orthopedic surgeon has a staff of physical therapists working out of the same office so I'm sure I'll be working with them.
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