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Old 09-21-2008, 08:23 PM   #1
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ACL, meniscus and MCL injury

I am having arthroscopic surgery in one week to repair my torn ACL, and stitch up my torn meniscus. I also have an MCL sprain. My original injury included a dislocated knee-cap and sprained MCL with a small tear 5 weeks ago. Then a week ago I REALLY injure myself...it was a strange circustance. Anyway, what am I really in for in terms of post-op pain and recovery time? I'm not sure what to expect. Can anyone provide some advice?? Thank you.

 
Old 09-21-2008, 08:58 PM   #2
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Re: ACL, meniscus and MCL injury

Hasn't your ortho doc told you what to expect?
I'm pretty much in the same boat as you. I've been waiting for the MCL to scar enough to stabalize the knee for ACL repair. My son has had the ACL and meniscus repair. He said pain was pretty bad for the first few days and his leg was in an immobilizer brace. He had some sort of contraption that helped ice the knee, and elevated his leg several times a day at first. He said that he started doing some simple exercises around day 3, but had pain meds for about a week to 10 days post op. ( arthroscopic).
When talking with him, I thought I would be off work around 6 weeks to recover, but then I talked with my ortho surgeon. She said that nurses are off for first 3 months before going back to light duty work. They do that for about another 3 months before getting back to full duties. This type of surgery takes 9-12 months for complete recovery.
The physical therapist that I am currently seeing, as part of plan to build up quads, said most people are up and pretty much doing most things after 6 weeks. I think that is with a brace on, but maybe not?
I had my injury July 29 and wore a brace for the first 6 weeks for MCL healing. The brace allowed for forward/back knee movement. I've been doing exercises to build up quads so post op healing should be better. I will have to do PT afterwards too, to help with muscle strength, stability and range of motion.

 
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Old 09-21-2008, 10:02 PM   #3
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Re: ACL, meniscus and MCL injury

It's really shocking how many people on here are headed for surgery and don't know what to expect in terms of post op care and recovery. The best thing to do is sit down and make a list of questions. Keep your list handy so that you can add to it as think of new questions. A few days before your surgery you will have a post op visit with your OS, pull out your list and go over the questions one by one. It's very important to do this, so that you wont be blindsided when you get out of surgery. You can ask people on these boards, but every doctor is different and every patient is different. I've had 10 knee surgeries and each post op outcome is different.

Good Luck.

 
Old 09-22-2008, 06:20 AM   #4
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Re: ACL, meniscus and MCL injury

I see this happen all too often.

Mine was painful but I was also put in a machine, name escapes me, to keep my knee moving 24/7. It would bend it up and down continuously, CPM machine maybe? This was done to prevent scar tissue build up and did the trick even though I hated it.

I didn't have the cryo cuff but sure wished I did. Ice on a regular basis, 20 minutes on, 20 off. The first week is pretty painful. Take pain medication as directed not as needed. You need to control the pain before it gets out of control. Once it's out of control getting it back in check again is difficult.

Definately talk to the doctor about his post op protocol, each docotor is different in what they allow or don't.

good luck
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Old 09-22-2008, 08:21 PM   #5
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Re: ACL, meniscus and MCL injury

Yes it is a CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) and you'll have to plan ahead for where is the best place to use this, as some beds are not the best place. I lived on the couch, as the backrest gave the CPM some stability from tipping over or tilting and putting pressure on my quad muscles. And as Kissa says take those pain meds whether you think you need them or not, because once the pain gets control of you, getting control of it is very very hard.

Your doc will probably tell you to keep your cryro cuff on 24/7, some folks say, nah what does it matter....Do it, if not you'll swell up like a watermelon...and they do go through a ton of ice, I have one on right now, because I'm post op and I'm using 4 bags of ice every 2 days. The best thing is to just put a cooler in your bedroom and fill it up, that way it's easy access for whoever is going to be helping you.

If you have any other questions, let us know.

 
Old 09-23-2008, 01:37 PM   #6
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Re: ACL, meniscus and MCL injury

Thanks for all the advice. I did ask the orthopedist some questions when i found out i was having surgery, but i was still dealing with the realization that i needed surgery and i've never had a surgery before. I will make a list of additional questions to ask. My doc has not mentioned the CPM, but my brother-in-law mentioned he had to do that for an ACL repair he had 13 years ago. Will I have that as well with this ACL and meniscus repair?

 
Old 09-23-2008, 05:31 PM   #7
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Re: ACL, meniscus and MCL injury

I would think so because the goal of the PCm is to keep your knee constantly bending and straightening out so that the muscles don't atrophy. It's been a long time since I had the surgery where I had to use one to, though, so you might ask your doc about that.

 
Old 09-24-2008, 09:52 AM   #8
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Re: ACL, meniscus and MCL injury

I had ACLr in 2002. The recovery was long with 3 months of physical therapy. I used a Berg polar pac 24/7 for at least a week. CMP is used to keep your range of motion. I didn't need one. My ROM was fine and my OS had me up and moving around very quickly. I did have pain and needed to take Demerol for 2 weeks.

I went to PT 2 days after surgery. I was out of work for 2 weeks. I was on crutches for those 2 weeks and then went back parttime for 2 weeks. My job was not physically demanding.

I had the ACLr to stall TKA. I knew when I had it that it wouldn't last forever, although for most people it will. If I had it to do over I would have it in a heart beat. The results were great. I could do anything I wanted.

I had to have TKA in 06, so it bought me 4 years.
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L.Knee: Arthroscopy: '98, '04, '06; ACLrecon: '02; TKA:'06
R.Knee: Arthroscopy: '06; TKA indicated
R Hip: Arthroscopy '08;

Gymnastics is fun at 18 but not at 40.

Last edited by lthomas; 09-24-2008 at 09:54 AM.

 
Old 10-07-2008, 10:46 PM   #9
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Re: ACL, meniscus and MCL injury

It has been a week since my surgery. My ACL was destroyed and there was a lot of scar tissue built up already. They replaced it with a donor ligament and stitched up my meniscus, which they found was really torn up. I didn't have the CMP, but kept my leg elevated with the cold water pack circulating around my knee for several days. I started PT on Monday, and did several exercises, including bending the knee as much as i could. I have to continue for 3 days a week for 3 weeks to start with. I do exercises at home, too. I am still in pain, but i am hoping I can start working from home this Thursday, if i can do without the pain meds during work hours. I don't know what to expect, though. I'm on crutches through the end of the month and haven't been given clearance to drive yet. Do you think i'm probably exercising it enough at this time? Am I expecting too much too soon as far as trying to return to work?

 
Old 10-08-2008, 07:45 PM   #10
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Re: ACL, meniscus and MCL injury

When you say "work from home" are you talking about clerical type work? If so, you should be fine. I was doing work from home the second week after my knee reconstruction/ostiotomy and I was on major pain meds. What meds are you on?

 
Old 10-08-2008, 07:47 PM   #11
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Re: ACL, meniscus and MCL injury

I forgot to ask, did they do your surgery arthroscopically?

 
Old 10-09-2008, 06:19 AM   #12
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Re: ACL, meniscus and MCL injury

I had ACLr in 2002. I was in the hospital overnight (not usual). The OS said he would prefer me to stay overnight. He was concerned that I was still having some bleeding 3 hours after surgery. Everything was fine. I used a cryotherapy unit for about a month (that is the icing machine). I did not use the CPM machine but I did go home with exercises to do every hour while I was awake. I had good ROM when I left the hospital. CPM was covered by my insurance. I just didn't need it.

I started PT 3 times a week 1 week after surgery. I was in PT 3 times a week for about 3 months. I was out of work for a total of 4 weeks.. 2 weeks totally out of work and returned 1/2 for the next 2 weeks. There was some pain after the surgery but not anything like the pain of severing my ACL. I could do absolutely everything after the surgery. This is an option that a few OS do for stall the need for TKA.
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L.Knee: Arthroscopy: '98, '04, '06; ACLrecon: '02; TKA:'06
R.Knee: Arthroscopy: '06; TKA indicated
R Hip: Arthroscopy '08;

Gymnastics is fun at 18 but not at 40.

Last edited by lthomas; 10-09-2008 at 06:21 AM.

 
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