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Readers Respond: Having Knee Replacement Surgery

Responses: 52

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Updated January 13, 2010

A joint replacement surgery is a major surgical procedure. Deciding when the time is right for knee replacement can be a challenging decision. How did you decide it was time for knee replacement? Or, what is telling you to wait for your knee replacement procedure? When is it Time?

RevKev

It has been 13 months since I had my bi-lateral total knee replacements. I still get days where they swell or are stiff. Told that is normal for someone who is active. But my life is totally different now. Back to working in the garden and my everyday activities without the pain that I had before the surgery. It is the best thing that I ever did. Can go both up and down stairs without pain. Went up 10 stories the other day and came back down. If you are planning to have your knees replaced if possible do both. Yes the pain is tough to go through but the reward is great.
—Guest Kevin

I think it is time.

I've had right knee problems for 35 years. I am contemplating total knee replacement. I have had open surgery 2 times and 6 arthroscopies cleaning arthritis and meniscus tears. I have severe osteoarthritis. It doesn't wake me at night. I have good days that make me back out of my decision to have it done. This thread is helping me with my decision.
—Guest Maria

Kneecap replace and cartilage grafting

Hi. I'm 39 and have severe osteoarthritis in my right knee. It's been through a lot. I was too in my late 20s/early 30s I'd need a new knee. Here I am. My quality of life is depressing. I can't keep up with my friends anymore. They go to Disney, or somewhere that requires walking and I don't go because I know my knee will turn into a balloon and in be in wicked pain. It's felt this bad for about a year. My doc won't do a total knee: I asked. He said I was too young. I understand, I do. I just want to walk down the beach without praying my knee decides it won't let me walk back. Surgery June 3, 2013. They are doing some new technique to regrow cartilage under the knee. The cap is pretty bad so it will have to be replaced. Doc is hoping to give me 5-8 years before total knee. I told him if it looks bad when he's in there: do it now. I'm young, healthy, and ready. Blessings to all. I feel your pain and have for a long time.
—Guest Heather

You are Waiting ... Why?

If your doctor is waiting for you to decide, then he has already decided. Even if you are young and the knee(s) has to replaced again it won't be for years. My expectation is that the surgery will only get better and better as time goes by. My answer is no matter what age we are we want a good quality of life. I finally did mine because I could barely do my job anymore, I was isolating because the pain was so bad and my children and family were growing up without me. They deserved so much more than an absent wife and mother. Now I'm in the middle of everything. Life is good. Not running marathons because I do want this to last as long as possible. It's not you you're making this decision for. It's for everyone who loves you, too. Don't let your age stand in the way. When and if you need a re-do the surgeons will still be there. And I bet your family will still be there too.
—Spruitt123

Too Young for knee Replacement?

I am 30 years old with severe knee problems. I had microfracture surgery almost two years ago. I'm told that I have no cartilage, bone edema and spurs. Two ortho drs have told me that if I was 50 yrs old my situation would easily be solved and they would schedule me for a knee replacement, but because I am 30, they do not recommend it. Do you think I should get a 3rd opinion? I have other health issues that could be easily resolved once I'm able to fully use my knee again. It's just so frustrating because I'm so young and can't do things I used to or most people do at my age.
—Guest Tracey

Time is now

I'm 63. From 1977 to 2006 I had 8 separate knee (l) repairs including one partial. The partial likely would have lasted but for another injury. 2007 had a total knee. WISH I did it SOONER. Been great from then till now. I would only recommend to candidates that you exercise the knee as much as possible before surgery to help with rehab.
—Guest dms

It's Now Time!

I am 58 and have surgery scheduled in 3 weeks; I'm really looking forward to getting this taken care of once and for all. Although I feel I can walk very well most of the time, stairs and downhill/uphill are killers. Often, when getting up from sitting for even a short while, I have to take a minute for knee to get going, then hobble away. Knee pain (and pain radiating down leg to ankle) awaken me often. Have tried cortisone, which was pretty effective. MRI showed bone spurs, torn miniscus and way too much fluid in knee, in addition to the bone-on-bone x-ray showed. Doc (very conservative) says definitely need a knee replacement, up to me when to have it. I said NOW!! I have a high tolerance to pain, so think it really bothers me more than I know (if that makes sense). I have put up with this for 4 years. I have a really positive attitude and know the work and discomfort of PT will be well worth it.
—pugsb

Wish I had it done sooner!

First injury was at 16, three different surgery repairs and finally at 56 had a total replacement. Wish I had done it sooner. Only 5 months out and SSSOOOO much better. Do your homework and find a GREAT doctor. I checked with many coaches, runners, chrio, and sports drs before making a final decision and glad I did. Painfull, sure, but it is a pain that is improving daily as opposed to getting worse! Rehab is critical and in the beginning is very painful, but gut it out and you will reap the rewards!
—Guest Shirley

When Is It Time?

I am 33 years old. Have dislocated my knee a total of 4 times now... The doctor has talked about knee replacement, but wants me to decide when I cannot take it anymore. It is a tough decision to make. This year things have started to change more signifigantly. I am relying on the heavier pain meds that have been perscribed, the slightest weather desturbances hurt like a bear, my kneecap is covered with bone spurs, hurts to the touch, and is laying over on the side of my leg more and more each month... The list goes on and on. Am wondering how to know when it is time to just say "OK, enough is enough" Had too much surgery already, so I am not a fan of having more.
—Azfilly

Go for it.

Only 56 years old and was facing daily pain and no sleep at night because of knee pain. Had to get help to plant a garden cause I couldn't get down at all to plant the seeds. Love to hunt and stuff like that and even that became a chore. Had both knees replace 5 months ago and what a difference. Pt is a must and expect pain. Lots of it. But now I can climb trees and play with the grandkids and the dog. Even hit a few golf balls the other day. Still can't squat that good but very little pain unless I over do it. The knees will let you know if you go to far. Sleeping at night now and very little swelling. Upset my knee Doctor because I haven't slowed down like I should have but we are getting there. Go into it with a positive attitude and expect the hardship but the joy of knowing that it will get better. If you are a person of faith remember that He will give you the strength. I never thought I would see a day again without pain before surgry. What a difference. PK
—RevKevin

when to replace knee

I asked myself same question for over a year. Tried everything including alternative therapies. When I took a favorite nature walk - one mile, flat and could barely stand the pain I knew it was time. I used to hike and run. Had the knee replaced two and a half years ago at age 62. Now I can do almost anything, except running. Just returned from a trip to Europe where I walked for hours every day - without pain. Recovery is a process - I did my PT religiously for over a year. I was walking a mile within weeks and gradually increased. So glad I did it. Other knee is worn but not slowing me down yet. Good luck!
—Guest AP

Tkr number 2

I'm 31. I had my first knee replaced at 28. Both my knees were shot from a devastating rugby injury which resulted in severe osteoarthritis. My "new knee" is awesome but the other one is now giving me trouble.. Keeping me up at night, stiff, etc. I need a new knee on that side too but everyone says I'm sooo young. I just wanna live my prime years painfree.. Pain ruins my mood and limits me so much. My doctor is willing to do a total knee replacement on that knee too but I worry about the longevity and what will happen when revision time comes. What are your thoughts? Should I get it fixed now and start living again painfree or should I wait as long as possible and suck up the pain?? I don't have many ppl in my situation to ask what with me being only 31. I just wish my decisions weren't about replacing a body part and more about the things normal 30yr olds have to face. I would appreciate any opinions you have to offer. :)
—Guest Kerri

39 years old, 53 now

I was very young when I had my knee replacement. Just like most of you, I was bone on bone and had gone through many expensive knee braces. I played college tennis and basketball and then became a long distance runner. It took my knee a good 2 years to heal. I thought that I had made a huge mistake! I am in NO pain now with great motion. I ride a recumbent bike for hours and can walk up to six miles. I know that the odds of a second replacement is in the cards for me, which I dread. For now, I'm still getting along really well, so have that replacement and quit living in pain from bone on bone! Good luck to you all and blessings :)
—Guest Guest Chestnut

When is it the right time?

Started with knee issues early in life(1974), had my left knee replaced in July 09, and finally getting right knee replaced May 7, 2012! My decision has been based on the quality of life issue. I am very energetic, still a gym rat at the age of 60. My hope is to improve my my work outs to include px 90!
—Guest Jose Gonzalez

is it really time

both of my knees are bone on bone, but I do not experiance a lot of pain, have had several scopes and both knees operated on at 16 years of age for torn ligaments, I am 63 and my doctor has said that even though I do not experiance a lot of pain, my tibia is starting to turn inward and it will be harder to correct if I let it go.
—Guest linda

When is it Time?

Having Knee Replacement Surgery

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