I'm having my second knee surgery on July 17th 2003 and am looking for some advice.
I suffered numerous dislocations, and in the summer of 2002 I had my first knee surgery--a lateral release and a lateral realignment of the quadricepts. I was in a great deal of pain, taking percocet, vistral, and oxycontin for about 3-4 weeks (the time frame is hazy because my head was so cloudy then). I thought the surgery would help me, but after just a few months I began having recurrent dislocations again. My quads have never strengthened, and I have been in constant pain. My OS blew me off again and again, so I decided to get a second opinion. He had never so much as performed an MRI or an X-ray!
The new doctor seems much more competent and willing to answer all of my questions and concerns. He is recommending a distal realignment (?) wherein the tibia/ shinbone is cut and moved toward the center of my patella, because it does not align properly. He is also re-doing the lateral realignment, because my quads are still so messed up, and the knee itself is so week. I don't know why the first doctor never recognized the problem with my tibia (like I said, he didn't really take me seriously and blew off my concerns), but the new doctor seems to believe my tibia is the cause of my constant knee dislocations. Anyhow, I am looking for anyone and everyone to email me and offer their own stories and advice regarding this procedure. I am very nervous about it, but feel it is the best option for me at this point in time. Based on the X-ray alone, I can see how my tibia doesn't align with my patella. In fact, it's visible just by looking at my leg. I suppose, then, my questions are as follows:
1. How serious will the pain be from the osteotomy as opposed to other surgeries? I am somewhat under the assumption that severe pain is severe pain, and I'm wondering if it's going to be much worse, or if it's just going to be the same old horrid pain for months on end.
2. What kinds of pain medications did you receive? I've heard great things about having a cathater placed in the knee itself as opposed to taking narcotics--but will I require a nurse to come in and change the needles ??? or is this something I can handle on my own (with live-in boyfriend support?)
3. What's the recovery timeline? How long before I am walking? First surgery I was walking in 3-4 weeks while still in a cast, although the doc would have killed me had he found out. I got full ROM back after about 3 months of rehab. Will this be similar?
4. The metal screws in my knee--the new doctor said some people have them removed, while others don't. Some people don't seem to mind them, but others are "bothered" by them. What exactly does "bothered" mean? Is it a psychological issue, or a pain issue?
Please, PLEASE help me out here. I need some advice. I've been doing research, but haven't had much luck. I know my knee needs to be fixed, and I'm hoping this works out for me, but I just need a little support and personal advice along the way.
And yes, I know each person reacts and heals differently, and that a good attitude going into it is going to make a world of difference. But honestly, how bad is it? Please don't sugar coat it. I dealt with HORRIBLE pain the first time around, and I understand this is going to be awful. But just how awful will it be????
Please EMAIL ME! I need some advice, and I need it quickly.
Thank you so much,