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Old 03-28-2012, 07:01 PM   #1
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osteoarthritis and torn meniscus of the knee

I am 50 years old and have recently been diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis of my right knee as well as a serious tear of the meniscus. Due to the severe osteoarthritis, my surgeon does not recommend surgery to repair the tear as there is too much scar tissue and he fears it may cause more damage or place me in more pain than I am currently in.
My surgeon recommended a coritzone injection followed by a Synvisc injection. I am looking at a total knee replacement down the road.
My concern is how painful are the injections and what can I expect to feel afterwards? Does the cortizone help and what about the Synvisc?
I am scared of a painful injection, but can't seem to function like this. What OTC pain meds can help?

 
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:54 PM   #2
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Re: osteoarthritis and torn meniscus of the knee

It's true, meniscus repair doesn't help much when there is a lot of arthritis.

Synvisc may help you a lot. About 85-90% of people are fine afterwards, about 10% have significant pain lasting a couple days after the shot. Don't expect to be on your feet all day at work right afterwards (That was my mistake!)

Assuming it works, you will see a decrease in pain and improvement in function for half a year to a year. You almost certainly will have a replacement eventually, but because you are relatively young, you don't want to do it any earlier than you have to. If the injections will buy time, go for it.

Of course, if the injections do not help, and the pain is so bad you can't exercise and have trouble just getting around, schedule the replacement as soon as possible.

 
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:43 AM   #3
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Re: osteoarthritis and torn meniscus of the knee

I also have Severe OA and have tried all sorts of anti inflamatories-- with no success. I am unable to do the synvisc injections no to bird allergies, however I have had the alternative which is Supartz. The down side to this one is it is a series of 5 injections over 5 weeks. I am wrapping up the second series I have had. The shots are a little uncomfortable, but not unbearable if the knee is not very agravated to start with. I feel the benefits of 6 months with relatively little problems worth the cost.

At only 46, I am definitely not ready to undergo a joint replacement but know it will be necessary eventually. Keep a possitive attitude and take care of yourself. These are as important as anything a doctor can do for you. good luck

 
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:57 AM   #4
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Re: osteoarthritis and torn meniscus of the knee

Quote:
Originally Posted by janewhite1 View Post
It's true, meniscus repair doesn't help much when there is a lot of arthritis.

Synvisc may help you a lot. About 85-90% of people are fine afterwards, about 10% have significant pain lasting a couple days after the shot. Don't expect to be on your feet all day at work right afterwards (That was my mistake!)

Assuming it works, you will see a decrease in pain and improvement in function for half a year to a year. You almost certainly will have a replacement eventually, but because you are relatively young, you don't want to do it any earlier than you have to. If the injections will buy time, go for it.

Of course, if the injections do not help, and the pain is so bad you can't exercise and have trouble just getting around, schedule the replacement as soon as possible.

 
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:01 AM   #5
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Unhappy Re: osteoarthritis and torn meniscus of the knee

Dear Janewhite1,
Thanks so much for your reply. It has helped me to know others have had the same or similiar issues. I just can't believe so many relatively young people have knee problems. This diagnosis has been very depressing for me. The first thing my ortho wants to do is a cortizone. Is the injection painful and also, is the Synvisc injection painful?

 
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:07 AM   #6
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Re: osteoarthritis and torn meniscus of the knee

Quote:
Originally Posted by bathnz83 View Post
I also have Severe OA and have tried all sorts of anti inflamatories-- with no success. I am unable to do the synvisc injections no to bird allergies, however I have had the alternative which is Supartz. The down side to this one is it is a series of 5 injections over 5 weeks. I am wrapping up the second series I have had. The shots are a little uncomfortable, but not unbearable if the knee is not very agravated to start with. I feel the benefits of 6 months with relatively little problems worth the cost.

At only 46, I am definitely not ready to undergo a joint replacement but know it will be necessary eventually. Keep a possitive attitude and take care of yourself. These are as important as anything a doctor can do for you. good luck

 
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:15 AM   #7
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Unhappy Re: osteoarthritis and torn meniscus of the knee

Dear bathnz83,
Thanks for the reply and information. I appreciate it.
I am scared to death of getting injections for fear of the pain. Unfortunately, I may not have any choice. I am sick about this injury as I caused it myself at the gym. I know the osteo has always been there, but my knee did not cause me any problems until the injury.
I am thinking of a second opinion to see if another docter will do the meniscus repair. ??

 
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:17 AM   #8
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Re: osteoarthritis and torn meniscus of the knee

I have not had cortisone in my knee. The synvisc or (supartz which I get are uncomfortable) Typicallly not horribly painful. I do have a very high tollerance for pain though. I have also made it through ACL surgergy and had most of the meniscus removed at that time. I was told at age 35 that I would probably need a TKR(total Knee Replacement)-- That was a lot to take on mentally. Always remember that it could be far worse and make the best of every moment-- even if it is difficult to smile!!!

I have a very difficult job on my feet 8 to 12 hours a day walking from 5 to 10 miles a day. I also have the complication of plantar fibrmas-- which are tumors on my feet. My brother has lost both legs to diabetes and told me he would trade me. That kind of put things in perspective. Keep your chin up-- smile and laugh life is far too short for anything else.


Hope this helps!

 
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:24 AM   #9
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Re: osteoarthritis and torn meniscus of the knee

I would definitely get a second opinion if you are even thinking that line. You must feel 100% comfortable with this type of Dr. It is important to have a great report with them. Don't worry to much about injection pain it really isn't much and there are ways they can minimize the pain at the time of the injection. Trust me the shots are nothing compared to surgery.

 
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:26 AM   #10
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Re: osteoarthritis and torn meniscus of the knee

Thanks for the information. I too have a brother with diabetes and lost my parents through significant illness and suffering. I think of what they went through, all the pain and suffering. That is what gets me through the disappointments, etc... in my life.
I appreciate your candor and will keep you posted on what I decide to do.

 
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:27 AM   #11
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Re: osteoarthritis and torn meniscus of the knee

I will keep you in my prayers!!!

 
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:39 AM   #12
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Re: osteoarthritis and torn meniscus of the knee

Hi,

Just had right knee arthroscopy 5 days ago and am sharing my story so far.

Have had knee pain for 10 months initially treated as moderate OA and went to physical therapy. But the pain in my inner knee was knife like, catching and never went away for more than a day or two.

So I finally had MRI which showed degenerative tear in the medial meniscus, moderate OA in the medial compartment and extrusion of the medial meniscus into the joint space.

First doc said not a prob, have arthroscopy and high probability of success.

But my reading of these probs indicated arthroscopy not great when OA present. So waited 3 months to get second opinion.

Second doc was great; took time to explain and gave me a 6/10 chance of arthroscopy helping and said on the balance of probabilities it was worth a shot. He also diagnosed a stress fracture in my knee and predicted my knee probably won't last another 10 but was hopeful the arthroscopy would give me some time.

So I agonised over it and finally booked in for partial meniscectomy; remove loose bodies on March 30 and I am so far happy with the result. I was given compression stockings for my legs and wore one on my good leg for the op. Post op I have been on crutches and after two days removed bandages to see two neat little incisions. Since then I have had bandaids on them and wearing stocking. Using ice twice a day and swelling has reduced. Pain is minimal despite taking no painkillers for the last 2 days! I feel I can walk without the crutches but am following doctors advice to use crutches for 2 weeks to help stress fracture heal.

So while it is early days I am hopeful this op has helped me. I almost cancelled after researching (both medical and patient feedback) but am glad I didn't. I realise the op can aggravate the OA but my surgeon said the floating bits can do damage too so its a catch 22. He also said he would remove as little of the meniscus as possible given its vital role but I have not had my post op checkup I do not know exactly what he did although he did give me a dvd and some pictures.

I will update my status if things change as I know I found reading boards helpful.

Good luck everyone!

 
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:02 PM   #13
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Smile Re: osteoarthritis and torn meniscus of the knee

Dear msgoldenhair,

I am so happy to read your post and hear that you are doing well. I am going to seek a second opinion and see if surgery is possible. For now, medication to control pain and swelling.
Best of luck with your recovery and please, please post how you are doing.

 
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:35 PM   #14
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Re: osteoarthritis and torn meniscus of the knee

I have had the syneviscs injections to me the shot is very painful. It is thick gel so it takes awhile to get it all in. It is sore that night and for a few days. I have only had 2 injections the last one in December, went just like the first one except that my leg swelled so bad 3 days afterwards. By the 5 day I could not walk, went tothe os and he had 2 drain it. Also certainly. Never again syenvisc injections for me. So now I am scheduled for for in may 29. Almost bone in bone. Just telling you my experience. It could be totally different for you

 
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Old 04-04-2012, 05:02 PM   #15
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Re: osteoarthritis and torn meniscus of the knee

Dear Nana b. Thanks for the info and reply.
I am uncertain about the injections for a couple of reasons. My good friend had 3 and they didn't help for that long of a period. Also, my insurance plan doesn't cover the cost so it's $450 per injection out of pocket for "possible" help with the pain. My friend, who by the way is a doctor, said to have my ortho prescribe naproxen for 6 weeks, 500 mg 2xs per day to help with the pain and swelling. This should help and then see where I am. By then I hope to have a second opinion doctor lined up.
Good luck with your knee.

 
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