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Problem With Implant Delayed Recovery

Submit an Entry: I Wish I Knew Before Knee Replacement...

By Sheryl Fox

Updated August 11, 2011

What Made You Decide to Have Knee Replacement?

Being a very active person, a paramedic working in a busy trauma center and emergency room became increasingly difficult with the concrete floor and osteoarthritis in both knees. Pain finally got the better of the situation and I am allergic to NSAIDS making alleviation of inflammation almost impossible. Knee replacement was about the only option for some type of relief since I wanted to continue working as long as possible toward retirement.

What Were You Not Prepared For?

My biggest "surprise" was the lack of range of motion and the ability to lift the leg enough to even walk up a flight of stairs. Pain was a major factor in the beginning but I didn't want to take narcotics if possible. Rehab was almost unbearable and I am a person who tolerates pain well. It soon became evident that there was a problem with this replacement but I could not get my doctor to agree finally I managed to get a second opinion and discovered there was a significant separation in the prostethesis which the surgeon refused to correct. He was convinced I had RSD and was not following through with rehab. After manipulation under anesthetic the problem worsened and I returned to work on an essentially frozen joint. Fortunately I was referred by my primary care to another facility where they replaced the defective knee. I now have 95-100% flexion at 4 months out and maintain my pain level with tylenol , aspirin and an occasional Tramadol after heavy activity. The hardest thing to face was being ignored when problems started and made to feel that I just wasn't able to "deal" with the pain.

Lessons Learned

  • I wish I had researched the procedure more before having it done so I would have been able to plan my rehab a little more efficiently. Also I learned to trust my instincts about my own body and follow through with obtaining care when suspecting something is not right. Although replacements do solve some problems they are not the entire answer when surgery doesn't go well. Know your surgeon and make sure they listen to you when you tell them about the occuring problems. They can make mistakes but they also need to correct those errors for the patient's best recovery.
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