Scar tissue after knee replacement

Posted by leithlane @leithlane, Jan 31, 2017

I had knee replacement surgery 6 weeks ago . Through PT I have been working on breaking up the scar tissue only for it to regrow by the time I get back to PT two days later. I have been massaging at home, using a hand held massager and roller. It is painful and swollen. I am getting very disheartened. Any suggestions as to what else I can do. Has anyone had laser treatments to break up scar tissue? Were they effective?

@rmeddings

I’m afraid a second opinion will only lead to the same results for me also. As my joints look perfect on X-ray. I suppose I just keep hanging on to the hope that there is someone out there that will have the knowledge to help me. As I sit and write this at 4:00 am , I wonder if my Dr’s even have any idea, or really believe what an ordeal this has been , or what it’s like to go to bed each night, and wake each morning, with the same old pain !!
I really hate that anyone else is going thru this, but at he same time, it strengths me know that there is someone else in the world that does understand my pain.. I have the gabapentin route, I was on Percocet for nine months ( as you say it only dulls the pain) I have tried nerve blocks,also. All to to avail..
I’m still holding on to the hope that someday this nightmare will end for me, and all of you ,who are going thru this.

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What about the metal and velcro brace. I’m even allowed to play beach v-bal with it on. Very lite weight. Great, but after this either another chick shot but, prefer Stem Cells.

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@rmeddings

I’m afraid a second opinion will only lead to the same results for me also. As my joints look perfect on X-ray. I suppose I just keep hanging on to the hope that there is someone out there that will have the knowledge to help me. As I sit and write this at 4:00 am , I wonder if my Dr’s even have any idea, or really believe what an ordeal this has been , or what it’s like to go to bed each night, and wake each morning, with the same old pain !!
I really hate that anyone else is going thru this, but at he same time, it strengths me know that there is someone else in the world that does understand my pain.. I have the gabapentin route, I was on Percocet for nine months ( as you say it only dulls the pain) I have tried nerve blocks,also. All to to avail..
I’m still holding on to the hope that someday this nightmare will end for me, and all of you ,who are going thru this.

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Stem cell knee brace is great. Wear mine golfing, biking, gardening etc. stabilizes the whole knee.

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I had a total knee replacement 8 months ago it it has been hell. I have had two manipulations, the second one popping open part of my three month old incision. I have may havee 78 degree bend after all this crap. I am currently having saline injections to try and help break up the scar tissue. After 3 treatments I have gained 12 degrees. Would never have done this had I know this would be the result.

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@maggiet

I had a total knee replacement 8 months ago it it has been hell. I have had two manipulations, the second one popping open part of my three month old incision. I have may havee 78 degree bend after all this crap. I am currently having saline injections to try and help break up the scar tissue. After 3 treatments I have gained 12 degrees. Would never have done this had I know this would be the result.

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Hello @maggiet, and welcome to Connect.

I can understand your frustrations and concerns as I have experienced all of what you are experiencing now. I had my right knee replaced at age 19 because of a genetic disability that left my right knee with end-stage arthritis beginning at the age of 9. I had a horrid recovery and also had two manipulations because my scar tissue growth was so aggressive. My range-of-motion was 10-40 degrees for the better part of the first year.

I kept with my rehab and stayed active, and eventually I felt a “pop” in my knee and over the next few days I went to 0-100 degree flexion and extension. This all developed 1.5-2 years after my initial replacement. I can say 11 years later, my knee has not degraded at all and my quality of life is so much better. Stick with it, it will come, even if it takes longer than what others maybe expected. Stick with the PT & keep your spirits up.

@maggiet, how are your exercises going? I admit that I did not push myself hard enough because of the pain and that hindered my progress. How is your pain?

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@maggiet

I had a total knee replacement 8 months ago it it has been hell. I have had two manipulations, the second one popping open part of my three month old incision. I have may havee 78 degree bend after all this crap. I am currently having saline injections to try and help break up the scar tissue. After 3 treatments I have gained 12 degrees. Would never have done this had I know this would be the result.

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This is the first time I have ever joined a discussion group for medical issue or anything else for that matter. I had a left TKR on 9/6/17. In 2015 I tore my left meniscus and had surgery done. Since that arthroscopic repair I had a chronic flexion contraction; my left leg was permanently bent at 15 degrees unable to straighten of fully bend the leg. I walked with a chronic limp. I still managed to stay very active; running, hiking, biking. The arthritis continued to get worse and the limping was affecting my hip and back. A total knee replacement was my only option. I bit the bullet and found a surgeon. I was able to straighten my knee but not bend it; the best I have gotten is 85 degrees. I had a manipulation done on Halloween but despite doing aggressive physical therapy the stiffness returned and my knee is just the same as it was before. I had a follow up yesterday with my surgeon and they say there is not much more that can be done. They are going to put me in a dynasplint and see how that works.
I cried all the way home and at work today wondering how am I going to function like this. I have to walk with a walker and can basically do nothing; not even walk my dog. I am so overwhelmed by this. I am only 46 and cannot think that this is how it is going to be the rest of my life. This sucks to say the least.
I got a call from a friend who is an orthopedic surgeon and does sports medicine. He told me about a therapy called Astym therapy. He said that it has been used for people who developed arthrofibrosis following knee replacement and they had a fairly good result with it. I will be looking into this for myself but you can find a lot more info on the internet about this. I found a research paper that looked at 16 patients who had good outcomes with this. It is noninvasive so it wouldn’t hurt to at least try this. I hope this information helps.

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Hi I feel your pain. my surgeon recommended arthroscopic surgery within the next six months if my scar tissue doesn’t heal he has never used the laser so i would like to hear about it if you use it

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@maggiet

I had a total knee replacement 8 months ago it it has been hell. I have had two manipulations, the second one popping open part of my three month old incision. I have may havee 78 degree bend after all this crap. I am currently having saline injections to try and help break up the scar tissue. After 3 treatments I have gained 12 degrees. Would never have done this had I know this would be the result.

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Hello @hospdoc, and welcome to Connect. Thank you for sharing your story with the other members of this group and discussion.

I also had a bad recovery from a total knee replacement in 2006. I had to have two manipulations, and when that didn’t work I did a full leg cast with cranks at the knee joint that I would turn to manually apply pressure to bend my knee. That still didn’t work. One day, about a year and a half after my surgery I popped the knee loose on my own on accident and I now have 0-100.

From one TKR to another, all I can say is keep pushing and keeping seeking answers, it can get better, even if it takes more time than you originally thought. I’d be interested to hear more about your astym treatment if you don’t mind sharing with the group.

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Thank you so much for your message it give me hope and I feel a kinship with with people like you

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@JustinMcClanahan

Hello @leithlane, welcome to Connect.

This is an experience very close to my own. I had my right knee replaced in 2006. I also had aggressive scar tissue immediately after my knee replacement. Ultimately, I had to have two post-surgery knee manipulations where they put me back under and broke the scar tissue up by bending my knee manually. Even after those two manipulations I still had issues with scar tissue. It took almost a full year and a half until I ended up breaking the scar tissue loose on my own when I jumped and landed awkwardly. Although it may be frustrating, sticking with your PT is a must.

I would like to invite @mnpat, @basa, @winning, @joanney, @emme, @kerri123, @gailfaith, @cautiousoptimism, @cheris, @ronnie3716, and @amberpep, to this discussion as they have all had knee replacements and may be able to provide some thoughts on their experiences with scar tissue after surgery.

@leithlane, have you heard of or tried a brace with hand cranks on it that you use to help with straightening and bending your knee? What does your therapist/surgeon say about your scar tissue problems?

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I had scar tissue after hip replacement. I have a massage therapist who does mayo facial release. It took care of the scar tissue, IT band tightness, and other muscle imbalances from walking funny.

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@rmeddings

I’m afraid a second opinion will only lead to the same results for me also. As my joints look perfect on X-ray. I suppose I just keep hanging on to the hope that there is someone out there that will have the knowledge to help me. As I sit and write this at 4:00 am , I wonder if my Dr’s even have any idea, or really believe what an ordeal this has been , or what it’s like to go to bed each night, and wake each morning, with the same old pain !!
I really hate that anyone else is going thru this, but at he same time, it strengths me know that there is someone else in the world that does understand my pain.. I have the gabapentin route, I was on Percocet for nine months ( as you say it only dulls the pain) I have tried nerve blocks,also. All to to avail..
I’m still holding on to the hope that someday this nightmare will end for me, and all of you ,who are going thru this.

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I have had an awful experience following my knee surgeries. I had done I suppose you can call a partial knee replacement, for osteochondritis dissicans. I had my first surgery in August, physical therapy was and has been rough, the pain meds I was prescribed might as well have been candies for all they did. I was first prescribed hydrocodone, oxycodone, and when I wasn’t getting much ROM (averaging 90 at PT and screaming the place down) I was referred to pain management by my ortho. after my second surgery to remove scar tissue. (October 30th) Pain management then prescribed me dilaudid, which surprise, did nothing for pain. His only answer was increasing the dosage, at one point I was taking my whole days dosage (3 2mg pills) just to go to physical therapy. This did nothing for the pain. I have finally seen a different pain management doc who has put me on muscle relaxers as well as a 24 hour alleve. These still have no effect on the pain. I am in tears every day from the pain, and here I am thinking I’m a tough girl. I am stuck in the same place I was following my first surgery, I’m thinking I went through all this extra pain for no reason. I’m losing more ROM everyday with the pain, which is not changing/ subsiding at all. Just hoping someone has some miracle answer for me, or perhaps a similar experience and any advice. I should mention I just turned 22 last month.

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Hi my sympathies I have similar issues my surgery was June still have scar tissue, although getting better, My doctor says if it’s not healed by next May he’s going to do arthroscopic surgery to remove any scar tissue, it is a slow process I’m hanging in there I wish you the best don’t know anything about laser

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