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?

@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.

Jump to this post

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.

REPLY

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

REPLY
@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.

Jump to this post

I have written to you many times, begging you to take me off these

lists. I signed on to help these people, who have the same physical

problems that I have endured at various times during my 73yrs. On this

earth, and no sooner had I done that, when I learned that they now

have some success with surgery for spinal stenosis, which I had been

diagnosed with some 25 years ago. At 73, I should have listened to my

family doctor, who thought I would have difficulty recovering from

back surgery. She really believed that PT would very tricky, due to

my lack of stamina. well, I was going to prove her wrong. Sheer will

was enough for me to go through anything to be free from back pain. I

had back surgery a year ago this past July 6th; 5 weeks later,

somehow, (I believe it happened doing a core exercise) I broke a bone

in my lower back. Before that healed, I fell, and 2 months after

that, I fell and sustained a concussion. The falls it turned out,

were due to a lack of calcium; it was discovered that I have

hypoparathyroidism. To compound these new medical problems, my back

surgery was not a success. I am in constant pain, and after enduring

7 different treatments, in order to satisfy Medicare, I am looking

forward to having a pain pump, surgically implanted in my lower back,

which it is hoped will reduce the pain up to 75%, perhaps more, but

possibly, less.

I am telling you about my physical problems, in the belief that you

will show some compassion; you are in the right field to understand my

situation.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Rosemary Hepler

REPLY
@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?

Jump to this post

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.

REPLY
@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.

Jump to this post

Hi Rosemary,
You can change your notification preferences in your Account Settings. Here’s a link to step-by-step instructions: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/get-started-on-connect/

If you have any questions, please send me an email using this form: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/contact-a-community-moderator/

Colleen
Community Director
Mayo Clinic Connect

REPLY

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.

REPLY

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

REPLY
@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.

Jump to this post

I am in the same spot as you, I had my first surgery in August. I am in severe pain, had arthroscopy to remove dense scar tissue the day before Halloween. Despite different pain management doctors prescribing nearly everything under the sun, I’ve had no improvement to the pain. I was getting 110-105 the first few weeks, but this past Friday only achieved 96 degrees, all while screaming in tears with pts physically pushing me.

REPLY

I had my TKR 7 weeks ago…going in this week to try to break the scar tissue…they are putting me out. Haven’t slept well since the surgery…great deal of pain. Biggest issue is Range of Motion…only at 95 degrees. I want to remain active, but I’m getting nervous. Surgeons did not recommend Physical Therapy initially, but now they want me to start. I’m confused about that as well…I’ve worked it hard at home.

REPLY
@rjmurray41

I had my TKR 7 weeks ago…going in this week to try to break the scar tissue…they are putting me out. Haven’t slept well since the surgery…great deal of pain. Biggest issue is Range of Motion…only at 95 degrees. I want to remain active, but I’m getting nervous. Surgeons did not recommend Physical Therapy initially, but now they want me to start. I’m confused about that as well…I’ve worked it hard at home.

Jump to this post

Hello @rjmurray41, welcome to Connect.

If you are only at 7 weeks, try to not get discouraged just yet. It took me well over a year to find my new norm. Like you, I struggled with extreme scar tissue formation. I also had to have two manipulations where they put me back under to break the scar tissue. I had a horrible recovery, but I was also battling 12 years of right leg muscle atrophy and joint flexion, so I was trying to reverse a decades worth of not having my leg straight or bent properly. In the end, I ended up getting to 0-105 degrees or so of flexion.

I also did not do physical therapy except for what they gave me to do at home. Looking back, I was not nearly as disciplined as I should have been to combat the scar tissue. Pain can be debilitating, especially when trying to rehab.

@rjmurray41, if you don’t mind sharing, are you concerned about the procedure to break up the scar tissue? How are you currently managing your pain? I also had a lot of pain after the replacement, but it does get progressively better (and so does the sleep, I became a major insomniac for the first few months).

REPLY
@rjmurray41

I had my TKR 7 weeks ago…going in this week to try to break the scar tissue…they are putting me out. Haven’t slept well since the surgery…great deal of pain. Biggest issue is Range of Motion…only at 95 degrees. I want to remain active, but I’m getting nervous. Surgeons did not recommend Physical Therapy initially, but now they want me to start. I’m confused about that as well…I’ve worked it hard at home.

Jump to this post

As Justin said …. with only 7 weeks behind you, you just can’t expect it to look very good. I had my original TKR 4 years ago, and a revision to that one a year afterwards ….. that was almost 3 years ago. I still have quite a scar on my knee and I suspect I always will. I consider it my “badge of courage” ….. I have many friends who are too afraid to have a TKR …. not me, get er’ done is my philosophy. I’m not sure what is meant by breaking it up. I just rubbed coconut oil (the solid) on it for a year with no results. Please don’t misinterpret this as discouraging you …. I’m not doing that intentionally, but some things may have to be lived with.
abby

REPLY
@rjmurray41

I had my TKR 7 weeks ago…going in this week to try to break the scar tissue…they are putting me out. Haven’t slept well since the surgery…great deal of pain. Biggest issue is Range of Motion…only at 95 degrees. I want to remain active, but I’m getting nervous. Surgeons did not recommend Physical Therapy initially, but now they want me to start. I’m confused about that as well…I’ve worked it hard at home.

Jump to this post

Hi Justin. I am concerned about the procedure…namely, I’m worried that forcing the knee to bend could have some adverse effects on the ligaments and tendons in my knee. I have had 4 surgeries prior to this including an ACL, so to me it sounds a little like we are just going to force the bend and see what happens. I’m not a doctor…so I don’t expect to completely understand. I just don’t completely know the risk vs the reward. I want to get back to riding a bike…maybe doubles tennis…that kind of thing. I’m working on my patience and long term approach to the whole thing.

REPLY

I had both knees replaced. I did go to PT when I was not making much progress. Helped me out a lot. Deep tissue massage was painful but the results were worth it. They give you so many more exercises to do than just the few simple ones when you leave the hospital. It was slow going at first but then all of a sudden one day big improvement. My niece is in PT down south and Dr.,s there all send their patients to PT.

REPLY

Can scar tissue be removed under Lazer surgery on the knee.

REPLY
@wootenrl

Can scar tissue be removed under Lazer surgery on the knee.

Jump to this post

Hello @sandcar, welcome to Connect. I moved your message and the discussion to which you posted to an already existing discussion called Scar Tissue After Knee Replacement. If you are replying by email to this message, I suggest clicking on VIEW & REPLY so that you can read through the whole discussion and meet the many members talking about similar symptoms to yourself.

@sandcar, you mentioned that you had your knee replaced 11 years ago (actually, I also had mine done 11 years ago), if you don’t mind sharing, how was your range-of-motion up to 4 year ago? Have you had any Xrays? I know eventually my knee will need revision, but the knees they were doing 11 years ago were part of a wave of longer lasting knees. Do you know how your knee is structurally?

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.