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Question about knee replacement surgery. (Original Post) RandySF Mar 2014 OP
Had one of mine done about a year ago. OffWithTheirHeads Mar 2014 #1
My grandmother had it in 2008. politicat Mar 2014 #2
It made a huge difference for me - and I had both knees replaced csziggy Mar 2014 #3
My father had a knee replaced when he was 76. Jenoch Mar 2014 #4
Knees are tough NV Whino Mar 2014 #5
My 74 year old neighbor with arthritis had his replaced two years ago. DebJ Mar 2014 #6
There's been a recent development in the technology kentauros Apr 2014 #7
I've had both knees replaced separately about 10 years ago. No Vested Interest Apr 2014 #8
 

OffWithTheirHeads

(10,337 posts)
1. Had one of mine done about a year ago.
Mon Mar 31, 2014, 09:13 PM
Mar 2014

Does it make a difference? Yes. Big time! However, if I had known how hard and painful it would be, I may have passed. It's a bitch and I had one of the best Docs in Az. Do it. If she decides to to it, do some real research on the doc. i had the best. I watched people who did not get the best at phys therepy and believe me, it makes a difference! If you want to know who the good docs are, go talk to the people who do the phys therepy after. They have to pick up the pieces and know who is good andbwho not so much. Good luck! If you would like more info, pm me.

politicat

(9,808 posts)
2. My grandmother had it in 2008.
Mon Mar 31, 2014, 09:27 PM
Mar 2014

I think it would have helped more if she had been more willing to have both done at once, had been willing to spend a full month in the rehab center, and had been willing to spend six months in outpatient rehab and a year in going to the rec center.

My grandmother has been heavy all my life. Like most women her age, exercise wasn't even on her radar, and figure control was all about fad diets and shapewear. She lived in the Midwest, where nutrition was a vague concept, and a good dinner always included both corn and mashed potatoes. She also worked in nursing, so her career was physical and the very idea of going for a walk after a 12 spent on her feet, wrestling with heavy, limp bodies... Yeah, not so much. She never developed the association of exertion as pleasure, and so when she had her knee replacement, she didn't have much emotional investment in the aftercare. That's a mistake, I think.

If your mother can bear to do prehab -- some strength building before surgery, to help her calf and thigh muscles adapt (and especially to build up the non-operative leg because it's going to get a lot of work) -- and makes a deep commitment to both inpatient and outpatient rehab, and maintains her rehab schedule afterwards, I think knee replacement is great. It really DOES make the pain go away and increases mobility. The ability to walk is critical to long-term health.

But it is not a panacea. It is major surgery and it requires massive effort both before and after. It makes movement 80% better on it's own, but the rehab is critical.

If her mobility is now impaired, if her knee is the major point of impairment (my gran also has a temperamental hip and lumbar issues, so fixing just the one knee was not enough), if she's motivated and if her knee is making her miserable even when she's not standing... Then yes. If any of those aren't true... Well, that's the point where it's time to think hard about pluses and minuses.

csziggy

(34,156 posts)
3. It made a huge difference for me - and I had both knees replaced
Mon Mar 31, 2014, 09:27 PM
Mar 2014

One May 15, 2012, the second July 25, 2012.

Before the surgeries, I had been bone on bone with both knees for years. The pain had gotten so bad I could not stand for long enough to load the dishwasher or stand more than a total of an hour a day. Trying to do routine things, like going to the store, walking around the house, etc. was impossible.

The day after the first surgery my new knee hurt less than the bad one. I spent three days in the hospital, then was transferred to a Medicare approved rehabilitation hospital where I spent nine days. If your Mom can get into one, it is worth it, but it takes some pressure to get it approved by insurance or Medicare. In my case I was approved because of my weight, both knees being bad, and other health issues.

At the rehab hospital you get three hours a day therapy - two hours of physical therapy and one of occupational therapy. The occupational therapy helps you learn to deal with falling risks and other limitations - I should have had that BEFORE the surgery!. By the end of the first week of my first stay, my limitation on PT was the pain in the other bad knee. I continued outpatient therapy at the same hospital between surgeries.

A friend had one knee replaced in December and got home physical therapy. That worked for her and could have because she had one good leg to stand on throughout.

See if the hospital where your mother will get her replacement has a program to educate patients about the procedure, what to expect, and what to plan for. The hospital I had the surgery in did and it was very helpful. They also had their patient advocates and physical therapists at the program to answer questions. For some, like a woman who lived alone, had no one to take care of her, etc., they worked with her to make arrangements for alternate care.

Now I can walk around - not as much as I could before I blew out my first knee in 2001 but better than I have been able to since. I can stand, do most chores, go shopping, hiking, etc. The big battle is to get back in better shape. Right after the knee surgeries, I was diagnosed with severe bi-lateral carpal tunnel syndrome. I had the right hand operated on in December 2012 and the left in November 2013. I lost a lot of the conditioning I had achieved after the knee replacements, plus having that many surgeries in one year is debilitating, no matter how well you do.

A good walker is nice to have for use at home but don't spend a lot of money on one. I found a used one (try Craigslist) and used it between the surgeries but I was doing so well they took it away from me at the first PT session after I got out of the rehab hospital the second time. I still used it some when out shopping - people are so much nicer to a lady with a walker than they are to someone with a cane! It's also handy to have a walker with a basket to carry stuff.

Anything I didn't cover, feel free to ask!

 

Jenoch

(7,720 posts)
4. My father had a knee replaced when he was 76.
Mon Mar 31, 2014, 09:39 PM
Mar 2014

It made a world of difference for him. The most important thing is to do the rehab afterwards. He spent two weeks at a rehab place. The ironic thing is that he did the rehab at the same room where my my mother was at for two weeks before she was moved to theong-term section. She eventually died three montgs later. My dad was in her room a month after she died.

My 53 year old brother had both knees replaced at the same time. He had complications because got infected with cellulitus which is a strep bacteria.

NV Whino

(20,886 posts)
5. Knees are tough
Mon Mar 31, 2014, 10:12 PM
Mar 2014

Do as much strengthening beforehand as is possible. Then rehab, rehab, rehab. I had a hip done and it was a piece of cake compared to knees.

DebJ

(7,699 posts)
6. My 74 year old neighbor with arthritis had his replaced two years ago.
Mon Mar 31, 2014, 11:54 PM
Mar 2014

It took him over a year to fully recover and go through PT, but his knee is so much better than my 58 year old
knee I'm ashamed to say I am jealous. He just loves it, is thrilled!

kentauros

(29,414 posts)
7. There's been a recent development in the technology
Tue Apr 1, 2014, 12:59 AM
Apr 2014

that looks quite promising, and I hope to see it used in this country soon.

It's a method of using natural silk in a sponge form so the body can basically regrow the cartilage and bone as needed. This article does a better job of explaining it than I can:

SILKBONE - USING SPIDERS TO WEAVE A CURE FOR JOINT DAMAGE

For many of us, spiders are our worst phobia, the stuff of nightmares. But these scuttling, eight-legged creatures could be on the brink of delivering a major benefit to human health.

The key to this sudden transformation of the spider, from the shudder-inducing creepy-crawly we all know into beneficent fairy godmother, lies in its web.

Staggeringly, spider silk is six times as strong as steel. Which means that this hitherto overlooked substance is quite possibly the perfect material to help repair damaged human joints.

The potential is enormous, say scientists. Knee injuries are just one area where spider silk could provide the answer, ending years of agony for sufferers and billions of euros of costs for national healthcare systems.

No Vested Interest

(5,178 posts)
8. I've had both knees replaced separately about 10 years ago.
Tue Apr 1, 2014, 02:34 AM
Apr 2014

The procedure had improved even between the two operations, none months apart, so that the second incision was smaller than the first.
They were good for several years, not so great now.
The main thing is to follow the doctor's orders in rehab - physical therapy.
Even though my replacement knees are not so great now, I do not have that arthritic pain that keeps one awake at night.

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