Missyluke, don't lose hope! There are pros and cons to this surgery, and the cons aren't dangerous in any way, just frustrating.
Pro: Definitely in my case, and just about in every case I've read about, as long as the patient has followed the doctor's instructions regarding NWB during recovery, etc., there IS significant relief from pain afterward.
I have always had a "renewed" ankle after the microfracture -- so far!
Con: How LONG that pain relief lasts is anyone's guess.
My lesion is big: 10x15, so not everyone will have this problem, but I have to be extra careful, because they only get bigger, not smaller. From experience, I know now that I will not do ANYTHING to jeopardize my ankle, which for me means no faculty volleyball or basketball games against the students, or jump rope fundraisers, or anything of that sort. I made the mistake of just jogging twenty or so feet a few times with my thrilled dog during a walk, and I instantly knew that I had done damage. Some people go right back to their jogging routines or other high-impact activities, and their microfractures fail quickly because they cannot withstand the impact. This CAN be avoided or delayed, but life changes are necessary.
Pro: It's a very quick and simple surgery, with minimal pain or scarring.
I had to be at the hospital around 7am, my actual surgery started around 9am, and I was home by 12:30pm! You'll have two little incisions and just a few stitches. I had absoloutely no pain, and didn't take a single painkiller when I got home. I took a few Advil for the first two days just to make sure I didn't have any inflammation, since the doctor said that was the most important thing to watch out for, but I didn't need it for pain. In fact, I felt absolute pain RELIEF after my surgery, because my ankle felt so much better after he cleaned it out. It was AWESOME compared to how it felt before.
Con: Sit around and wait!
You'll feel like there's nothing wrong with you, so the NWB time feels like forever.
Going forward: I've had several debridement/microfractures at this point, so I've come to think of them as "tuneups" -- routine maintenance for my ankle that is required every few years. My OATS gave me seven years, but required two plugs from my knee, a medial malleolar osteotomy, and was brutally painful, so I can't really say if that was necessarily better than two more mfxs instead.
My surgeon is suggesting a DeNovo as my next option if this mfx doesn't work, since the lesion is so big and we're trying it AFTER an OATS, which isn't typical. We'll see if it works. I know it might not work this time, but our main intent was to clean it out and scope what the new damage was, in order to plan for whatever's next, if I need to try something else. I have my next followup on 8/20, which will be my 6 week mark and I'll start PWB.
Missyluke, I guess my point is, even though it's annoying and we wish our ankles could just be fixed once and for all, occasional mfx are surely better than constant pain or fused ankles or some of the other options available at this point. Don't lose hope just because he's already talking about future surgeries -- that's the nature of this injury, so it's his duty to make sure you're informed.
Ditsy1: Welcome! I haven't had any tendon surgery, but there are plenty of people here who have. Search the board and I'm sure you'll find tons of info.
Be sure to read the tips on preparing for NWB stuck at the top of the board -- lots of good ideas there -- and best wishes for your surgery on Monday!