Re: Do I Really Need a 4 month check-up
YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST go to EVERY SINGLE post TKR checkup with your Ortho surgeon! This includes the annual visits for the rest of your life.
The reasons are that the surgeon MUST check the integrity of the prosthetic joint to ensure that it has not become dislodged (out of alignment) in any way, and that no pieces of the prosthetic joint have worn away and broken off. You DO NOT WANT THOSE PIECES FLOATING AROUND IN YOUR BODY!! They can potentially cause damage to other vital organs, never mind compromise the structural integrity of the prosthetic knee itself. The average lifespan of the newer prosthetic knees is 20 to 25 years (more if the patient is NOT particularly super athletic). As a matter of fact, your surgeon SHOULD HAVE INSTRUCTED YOU post TKR in March, that you should not engage in high impact sports such as running, jogging, tennis, basketball, baseball, etc., as any of these sports will cause the prosthetic knee to wear out much FASTER then it should! Every time your feet hit hard pavement, engaging in these sports post TKR, increases the risk of dislodgement or misalignment of the new joint!!! If this should happen to the degree that it wears away the prosthetic joint faster than the projected average life span of the replacement, they can ONLY DO A RE-REPLACEMENT SURGERY ONCE MORE!!! I don't think you want that to happen. It's tough enough to rehab your knees the first time you have TKR surgery! You don't want to be having to go through that EVER AGAIN!!
I had both my knees replaced a year apart (right TKR - 4/5/11 and left TKR - 3/23/12), and because I did EVERYTHING MY SURGEON ASKED OF ME POST SURGERY, I have had TWO VERY EXCELLENT OUTCOMES! Because of what my surgeon did for me by replacing my badly diseased knees ("End-stage osteoarthritis" in BOTH KNEES), and the fact that I followed his post-op instructions to a T both times, I am now walking normally on two very strong and well-balanced prosthetic knees WITHOUT PAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN SEVEN YEARS!
As Silver Swan points out, these checkup visits are NOT SOCIAL CALLS!! Your surgeon schedules them for the reasons I stated above! If you happen to have a very good rapport with your surgeon, that's icing on the cake. But you really DO need to heed his advice at all times. He cared enough to give you back your mobility without pain. He wants to help you KEEP things THAT WAY!!
(I happen to have an EXCELLENT RAPPORT with my Ortho surgeon, who has also started treating me for other ortho issues, along with the partners in his practice. He was SO PLEASED AT MY MOTIVATION going into this year's left TKR surgery in March, that, when I walked 200 FEET on the walker THE SAME DAY OF SURGERY, my surgeon affectionately nicknamed me "Rascal" because I was ALWAYS ON THAT WALKER THROUGHOUT MY ENTIRE HOSPITAL STAY! And I worked really hard at PT post surgery, so that my recovery from THIS TKR surgery went much faster than my right one last year! Within a MONTH of my left TKR surgery in March, I was walking up and down stairs normally, one foot after the other WITHOUT A CANE! So, every time I have to see my surgeon in the office for a checkup or a new issue, he greets me with my nickname!!) The other day, I saw him for shoulder problems and he said it is his pleasure to take care of me and get me fixed up, even if it means doing surgery, because he said I'm such a good patient, since I do everything that's asked of me to get a good outcome. That's the mark of a truly caring surgeon! (And if he's running behind schedule and has kept me waiting more than I'm used to beyond my appointment time, he ALWAYS APOLOGIZES FOR DOING SO!)
I have had numerous surgeries over my life for one condition or another, so far (I'm in my late 50s), but I have to say that my Orthopedic surgeon is the MOST KINDHEARTED SURGEON I HAVE EVER HAD THE PLEASURE OF BEING UNDER THE CARE OF IN MY ENTIRE LIFE! He is my Medical Hero!
I hope you understand now, the reason for the periodic checkups. Please continue to listen to and follow your surgeon's instructions and advice. You won't be sorry. And take good care of those new knees! Keep going to your physical therapy facility and doing the routine that was designed for you post surgery! It will help prolong the life of your prosthetic knees! (Try to avoid commercial gyms - they are NOT EQUIPPED to deal with people with prosthetic knees or hips!!! Plus, if you continue at your PT facility, you will have the security of being under the watchful eye of your regular therapist in case you run into problems with your knees!)
Last edited by ldy12; 08-08-2012 at 09:03 PM.
Reason: more info and advice