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ACL reconstruction - any orthopods or previous patients about?

(9 Posts)
hefzi Tue 02-Feb-16 12:57:28

Just looking for some input here, really: I have an appointment with the consultant this afternoon to discuss a date for the surgery itself, but he's not very user-friendly to put it mildly, so I thought asking the good folk of MN might be both safer and better for my nerves!

It's a long-standing injury, and the ligament itself is completely severed; my PCL is apparently very bowed (which I would imagine is normal after 20+ years without an ACL) and there is some shearing (not too sure what that is, to be honest!) on the ends of the bones and on the kneecap itself. There's also a bone spur somewhere, but I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. There's no other ligament/cartilage etc damage, according to the MRI. (Sorry for all the info- it's just I'm not sure what is relevant to my questions!)

I had the option for a reconstruction some years ago, but in those days, the success rates were around 1/3, which wasn't good enough odds at the time for me to risk it - I had an active job, and couldn't have done it if it had deteriorated as a result of surgery. However, things have changed etc etc plus I have been having increasing problems with this knee - it's very unstable, and even sitting wrong on a chair can make problems that result in massive swelling and difficulty moving for months on end.

What I am wondering, though, is more about the process. I'm fairly certain it's a GA (and I'm not that sure I want to have my hamstring cut about and my knee restrung with LA, to be fair!) but is it an overnight in hospital? How long would I be on crutches afterwards, approximately? And how long, even with crutches before you can actually put your foot to the ground (so might be able to manage with a single crutch? And how long before I would be able to fly (as in take a plane, not fly a plane!)? What would be the rough time period for being able to walk stably and with confidence (even with a brace)?

I am a little bit stuck, as I live alone and don't have any friends (complicated story) so GA is difficult in terms of being released from hospital - I usually invent a friend, but in this case, I'm guessing it's q fairly long procedure, so it's probably not wise to be on my own the first night: I was thinking perhaps to book a hotel room, so there would be someone on the other end of the 'phone.

I'm also wondering about the crutches in terms of managing during that period - I'd have to sleep on the sofa, as there's no upstairs loo and the stairs are treacherous at the best of times: that's fine for a few weeks, but I could see that getting a bit old! (My kitchen is also tiny, and it will rapidly get old eating dinner off the top of the cooker grin)

The consultant has an excellent reputation, but like I say, his bed-side manner is lacking, and I know that when I try to ask these questions today, he will brush me off: so I'm hoping people might be able to give me some insights so I can make a bit of a plan!

I wasn't super-fit before, but having very limited mobility for the last five months has really impacted on my very basic levels of fitness - I am doing physio, but I am aware that this is going to be something of a long haul, so any help, advice or ideas you guys can give me would be very gratefully received smile

(Sorry for the long post -I didn't want to drip feed, even though I am not totally sure you can drip feed about ACLs!)

hefzi Thu 04-Feb-16 12:41:52

Just giving a hopeful bump...

CMOTDibbler Thu 04-Feb-16 12:55:04

A friend had an ACL reconstruction 3 years ago - one night in hospital, within a week using 1 crutch, none within 3 weeks. Going up and downstairs from the start
Talk to the staff about postop care - they might be able to book you a couple of nights in a step down unit as theres no one else around to help you. Worth asking. But if not, a hotel room with level access and people around would sound like a good idea, esp if you book a disabled access room which will have rails in the bathroom.

Do as much physio as you possibly can beforehand smile

hefzi Fri 05-Feb-16 09:32:15

CMOTDibbler thank you so much - very helpful! And much better news that I had feaerd - though tbh, it was 20 odd years ago last time I enquired about the surgery, so I shouldn't be surprised it's moved on.

I am physio-ing like a mad thing, in the hope that anything I do now is going to help down the line: I've only got 2 1/2 weeks, but my invented single leg press using the floor and the sofa is a sight to behold grin

hefzi Tue 23-Feb-16 17:07:45

Just in case anyone finds this thread through googling, thought I'd update: had operation yesterday afternoon, discharged today.

It took 45 minutes - and there was in fact various other pieces of damage, so actually longer than anticipated. I was stuck with the bloody bedpans until after physio today, but am fine to put my foot flat on the floor etc already, and have been told to let it take as much weight (with the crutches) as I can.

Time on crutches is estimated to be somewhere between 1 and 6 weeks- so I'll update when I know more.

Braces are apparently old hat these days - but I have to keep my big bandage on another 2 days, and then it's compression stocking on until I see the consultant again: in a fortnight. The stitches are dissolvable, and the dressings need to stay in place a fortnight. Should be OK to fly in about 6 weeks time.

I realise it's (very) early days, but genuinely the most painful part at the moment (and to be fair, I've had my crutches about 2 hours, so haven't done much apart from some wiggling and bending/stretching!) is the back of my hand where the port was in. As I came round, the anaesthetist asked if I could feel anything, and I mentioned that I had a bit of stinging in my hamstring, but it was absolutely fine: she whopped some tramadol in, and that was all the pain relief after surgery I had until this morning, when I had 2 ibuprofen.

Like I said - very, very early days: but a lot less scary than I was expecting, by far (except the bedpans: forgive me mentioning them again - I have been very traumatised grin). CMOT's post made me really relaxed, but it was even smoother than I had hoped. Fingers' crossed now that the longish recovery process will be smooth also...

CMOTDibbler Tue 23-Feb-16 17:13:14

Glad to hear it all went smoothly. Hope all goes as well in your recovery

Alasalas Tue 23-Feb-16 17:24:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Aftershock15 Tue 23-Feb-16 17:32:44

Dh had his done a few years ago. He bought an exercise bike to help with his rehab. He was pretty good at the physio and was skiing by the end of the next season.

I've never had mine reconstructed but now 20+ years later I'm feeling it occasionally wobble so may have to look into it at some stage.

Paddypaws3 Tue 23-Feb-16 20:03:27

My Dh had a reconstruction a few years ago. The first week or so was very uncomfortable for him and he actually felt better when moving about. There was also some fantastic bruising! We were so alarmed at the colour the back of his thigh had gone that we checked with the hospital that it was normal! It was.

He was absolutely religious about the physio exercises and I beleive he made a very quick recovery. He also did some gentle exercise on his turbo trainer (his bike slots into a stand which turns it into an exercise bike) which he said helped a great deal.

Hope you have a speedy recovery.

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