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    Old 06-11-2006, 07:18 PM   #1
    jenniferlucci
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    Question How Painful Is Triple Arthrodesis Surgery?

    HOW PAINFUL IS TRIPLE ARTHRODESIS SURGERY? Hi, I am scheduled to have a triple arthrodesis on my right foot in July. I had juvenile rheumatoid arthristis diagnosed in 1980 when I was 18 yrs old. I am now 44. My right ankle joint fused intself years ago, it amazed many ortho doc's when they see the x-ray..my ankle fused at a downward position, so I am not at all able to walk barefoot comfortably, must wear a little bit of a heel and have lifts put into my closed shoes...so now the joints under the fused ankle are worn down, with little or no motion..and the pain at at times is unbearable.. I feel comfortable with my orthopaedic surgeon, but I am also a recovering alcoholic and pill addict...I am scared to death of what the pain will be like post op...my ortho doc referred me to pain mgmt doc due to addiction prob's...he is an anesthesiologist, he will do a spinal thing that he says will drip anesthetic to my foot and leg, as ortho says he will need to take bone from my leg as well. pain doc seems to think, that 1 week post op, i will only need a mild opiate once a day or maybe none at all just extra strength advil, etc...does ANYONE have any experience like mine, and what is pain like after surgery and for how long..Doc's dont know how it feels so I dont trust their opinion..I had a shoulder joint replaced that was beyond excrutiating afterward and I was on heavy painkillers legitimately for 3 months, I dont want to get back into my addiction but I am afraid the doc's wont believe me if I say I need more pain relief. they might think Im drug seeking due to my previous history... please advise, thanks so much

    Last edited by jenniferlucci; 06-11-2006 at 07:41 PM.

     
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    Old 06-11-2006, 08:42 PM   #2
    kpoe
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    Re: how painful is triple arthrodesis

    I'm not sure what triple arthrodesis is, but I had right foot bunionectomy and 2nd and 3rd toe repair. Last year, I had left foot done. After exepriencing foot surgery twice, I can honestly say that the first 2 to 3 days are the worst to the point that I used my pain prescription medication every 4 to 6 hours as prescribed.

    I am post op day 6 and I could easily get by with ibuprofen as long as I minimze the swelling and stay off my foot. The more activity that I try to do, the more it hurts/swells and the more I am likely to take a pain pill. I am currently taking a half dose of percocet in the morning and another half dose in the evening and getting along fine.

    I think the biggest factor in minimizing pain has been avoiding activity and elevating and icing my foot. I've noticed that ice offers immediate relief. Also, it helps taking my mind off the pain/discomfort and wrapping it around a project, like updating my address book or writing on these boards.

    Last edited by kpoe; 06-11-2006 at 08:47 PM.

     
    Old 06-11-2006, 09:02 PM   #3
    kpoe
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    Re: how painful is triple arthrodesis

    Okay, looked up arthrodesis. It appears to be more invasive and deals with a bigger joint than toes. I read the other thread and saw that others stay in the hospital after operation - I guess this is your plan too? Are you mostly worried about once you get home?

    I hope that the pain clinic is helpful to you. Keep us posted.

     
    Old 06-11-2006, 09:39 PM   #4
    lizzy21
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    Re: how painful is triple arthrodesis

    Is arthrodesis a fusion? If it is, that is what I had done on my big toe. I was given percocet to take every 4-6 hours and did so only for the first 3-4 days. I just had my procedure on June 5th and am currently not taking any meds.
    This is a repeat surgery on the same toe, because the fusion did not take (referred to as a nonunion). The first time, the pain was a little worse for me than this time, even though this time I have a permanent screw in my toe. I was on my pain meds for the first week (every 4 hours I took 2 percocets). I then began to take them for another week, when I was allowed to be pwb.

     
    Old 06-12-2006, 04:29 AM   #5
    kimann
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    Re: how painful is triple arthrodesis

    Jennifer~
    Speak honestly with your doctor and you will be fine. Being a recovered addict does make you more at risk, but it doesn't mean you should suffer pain! Ask for meds when you're in pain. When you're in pain, you will not get high or "feel good" with meds. When you're no longer in pain, refuse them. You, in recovery, know what you went through, and don't want a re-run. (I've never taken narcotics in my life, and was scared to death of them because I'm an alcoholic in recovery, and didn't want to go back down the road with another drug, but I talked with my doc, took the meds, and when I realized they weren't working, flushed them in the potty. No problem at all, for me, but I have a high tolerance.) Your Doc, forewarned, can help keep watch, and when you step outside the norm as far as requesting meds, can discuss other options with you, or investigate why you're experiencing pain when you "shouldn't be". If you're still involved in an AA or NA community, ask for support. If you're not, it might be good to go back for awhile. If you're uncomfortable with that for any reason, there is a recovery forum on this board you might visit. I'd be happy to "listen" via the board and respond whenever you feel you need a buddy. Best of luck, keep us posted! Kim

     
    Old 06-12-2006, 10:56 AM   #6
    LIYAH31
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    Re: how painful is triple arthrodesis

    I just took my post from another thread:

    Hi, I had a triple arthrodesis last October 2005. I have to be honest with you, it was not fun at all. It was EXTREMELY painful at first. I had the surgery done on a Monday and didn't go home until Friday morning. They kept me so long because they couldn't get the pain under control and also I had to be put on blood thinners because my blood was on the thick side.

    When I got home, I was on the pain meds for almost two weeks and then I was okay. I think I may have taken some Tylenol here and there but for the most part after two weeks I was fine, as long as my foot was elevated.

    When I went home from the hospital I was in a surgical splint. I was actually never casted as I went fromt the surgical splint right to a boot however I was still nwb. I was a little confused on that, but everything turned out fine.

    Now it's 7 months later and I'm not sure I'm happy with the surgery. Your range of motion will NEVER be the same and I'm having a really hard time with that. I almost get hurt everyday becasue of stepping on small things. Yesterday I was out side taking a walk and stepped on a rock (not a large one) and almost broke my neck

    The doc that did my triple arthrodesis recommended that I have my left one done and there's no way in HE%% I'd do that.

    I recently saw another surgeon who agreed that a triple on my other foot would probably not be a good way to go.

    Sorry to ramble on, hope that helps some.

    BTW, I was on a drip after surgery. And went home with Oxycodone and then they gave me Darvocet after 1 week. I liked the Darvocet better because I was able to be more alert.

     
    Old 06-12-2006, 07:30 PM   #7
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    Re: how painful is triple arthrodesis

    I had a triple fusion on the left with an additional firt met fusion as well. I can say that they pain was not bad at all with the fusion. What did hurt like He--- was the nurve that ran down the front of my foot into my big toe. The must have nicked it or something. I needed pain medication all the time. If I did not keep up on the meds the pounding was bad. Recovering or not, you do not need to be in pain.
    They say that it takes longer to heal when you are in pain.

    Pain clinic is a good idea. I had the drip that you are talking about. It was great.

     
    Old 06-14-2006, 04:02 PM   #8
    deeschmee
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    Re: how painful is triple arthrodesis

    Hye jenniferlucci -

    I was scheduled for a triple arthrodesis this Monday but I cancelled today. I noticed that your profile says that you live in Tustin, which is interesting because I live in Tustin as well. Long story short, I postponed my surgery for six weeks, and in the mean time I want to get a second opinion. So, do you mind sharing who your doctor is? I'm seeing one in Santa Ana. Thanks!

    Dee

     
    Old 06-17-2006, 03:55 PM   #9
    jenniferlucci
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    Re: how painful is triple arthrodesis

    Hi, Deeschmee My ortho doc is Ronald W Smith out of long beach and Newport Beach. He is rated as the best for foot and ankle surgery is so Orange County..I have TOTAL confidence in him. He listens, is respectful to staff and me as a patient and didnt shame me with regards to me being in recovery for addiction & alcoholism...I am scheduled for July 25th at LB memorial..Thanks to everyone for your input, it REALLY helped me & put my mind at ease since you actually had the experience..will keep you posted

     
    Old 07-04-2006, 10:46 AM   #10
    expo-92
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    Re: how painful is triple arthrodesis

    Hi!
    Waking up is the worst part. I takes a good 20-30- mins to get the pain meds in your system and it's pretty bad. I was convinced someone was hiding the meds from me. I wanted them to ease the pain as soon as they entered my body. Just remember they have to get in your system and will ease off. As long as i took the pain meds BEFORE the pain got bad, I was pretty comfortable. Don't wait for it to start hurting bad and then take something. later the day of the surgery, I was watching the tv or taking naps.By day 2, It mostly hurt when I would move it. Keep it elavated and stay off of it. Do what the doctor says and don't put any weight on it unless he tells you it's ok.
    When I came home, I took my percocet at least every 6 hrs. or so even if I wasn't hurting bad. I knew once it started it would get worst fast.
    Even tho this is painful , if you lay around with you remote and snacks you should be ok. I got me a bedside comode for a couple of days at first. My biggest problem was finding someone to empy it. My teenage son no longer knew who I was or why I was at his house. I was afraid I was going to have to store it in the closet until I could empty it myself, but my daughter stepped in like a real trouper and didn't let me see her face as she emptied the contents. Now that's love for ya!!!
    I believe you'll do just fine. The comode really does help and also one of the chairs you can put in the tub with you. Your insurance should pay for these if the doctor gives you a prescription for them.

    Good luck!!
    expo92
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    Old 07-04-2006, 09:10 PM   #11
    snwtygr
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    Re: how painful is triple arthrodesis

    Hi, I had triple arthrodesis on both feet. Both times it was an out patient procedure - I went home the same day. I had a marcaine pump in my leg that lasted for 48 hours. After it wore off I was taking vicodin q 6 hrs for a few days. Because of your history the would be a viable option you could ask your doctor about. Also during the surgery they could put nerve blocks in your leg. Also a TENS unit may be beneficial for you. Because I had an external fixator I was partial weight bearing after one week. If you have internal fixation you will be NON weight bearing for MUCH longer. The pain should only be at its worst for the 1st several days and subside to the point where you can take NSAIDs. When you start ROM and PT the pain will climb up again and perhaps at that time marcaine injections to the most painful areas throughout the acute phases of your rehab would keep you away from the narcotics. I know alot of people on this board have had nightmare experiences with triples but I have to say it saved my life and I would do it again. I only wish I could have done it sooner ! If you have confidence in your doctors experience and you communicate openly about your pain levels and management you should do fine. DO NOT test it on your own - only weight bear when he says it's OK. It's a carefully balanced "bridge" and won't be strong enough until bone starts fusing - and that takes time. Keep us posted.

     
    Old 09-13-2007, 07:36 PM   #12
    stepbystep89
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    Re: how painful is triple arthrodesis

    I am recovering from a fusion as well. I am also in recovery. I deal with pain management on a daily basis still since my toe will need to be corrected before I have pain relief. I have gotten alot from pain management. I also had troubles asking for pain meds. I think as recovering addicts we are afraid people will assume we are drug seeking. We feel as though we are asking for something we shouldn't have. It is tough to shift from this way of thinking. I have to remember I will heal faster if my pain is managed. I went through a rocky time after my surgery due to a staph infection. If I hadn't spoken up about the excruciating pain it would have taken a long time for the infection to be found We need to speak up when in pain. No need to punish ourselves by suffering in pain. I also am a firm believer that as long as I take the meds for pain I won't get high.
    Please reply with an update on how you are doing.

     
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