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?

@katp

Not that I wish you more scar tissue, but I’m amazed that someone else can feel the scar tissue grow that quickly! Some days I can feel it increase in the course of a day. My tkr leg feels like an alien is growing right under the skin. It is painful at times. I have never heard of laser treatments for it. Can you tell me more? Very interested. A web link? Thanks.

Jump to this post

@katp, I also had very aggressive scar tissue. I had my done when I was 19 so I also believe my immune system and body was at its peak for internal strength which could also explain why I formed scar tissue so fast. I was also battling years and years of tendon/muscle atrophy to start so rehab was difficult. Has your surgeon discussed manipulation with you before opening your knee back up? I had two manipulations done to break up scar tissue. The second one helped some, but ultimately I ended up breaking the scar tissue loose on my own accidentally. All said and done, I had the replacement, two manipulations, a leg cast with cranks built in to it to turn to try to slowly bend my knee. It all took well over a year, but I am now 0-105 or so. Not as much as I had hoped for, but better than the initial 15-45 I was stuck at right after the replacement.

REPLY

What can a rheumatologist do to help ? Only asking cuz I need help

REPLY
@kneeproblem

What can a rheumatologist do to help ? Only asking cuz I need help

Jump to this post

You have an autoimmune issue /Shrojrins and that might be complicating your recovery. Rheumatologists specialize in auto immune diseases.

REPLY
@kneeproblem

What can a rheumatologist do to help ? Only asking cuz I need help

Jump to this post

I think it was you who said you have Sjrogins? Sorry I've forgotten how to spell it!😆

REPLY
@debbraw

Hi @katp – I'm sorry to hear about your scar tissue. It must be terribly discouraging. Although I had 2 TKRs, I'm thankful I didn't have the issue of scar tissue. Do you know why you have to wait 6 months? Also, I'm curious about what procedure they are going to use to remove the scar tissue. Have you already had a manipulation under anesthesia?

Jump to this post

Hi there, I think the reason to wait till 6 months is that all swelling must be done. I’ve seen arthrolysis mentioned at 3-6 months. My knee still swells something awful with walking. I had a mua at 6 weeks. Doc said he ordered a muscle relaxant befor3 the mua and my leg was stick straight to begin it. He showed me photos of my leg bent to full flexion. The swelling, I guess, and new scar tissue grew over the weekend. I feel this wire like sensation all across my knee, and the sensation varies with different activity. It gets worse, but never goes away. Thanks for asking.

REPLY
@zakcat

I think it was you who said you have Sjrogins? Sorry I've forgotten how to spell it!😆

Jump to this post

Yes, I tested positive for the antibody for sogrens. I have dry eye but for years told I had fibromyalgia.

REPLY
@kneeproblem

What can a rheumatologist do to help ? Only asking cuz I need help

Jump to this post

Apparently, from a call asking, there is not a connection. Sorry, I’m grasping at straws.

REPLY
@JustinMcClanahan

@katp, I also had very aggressive scar tissue. I had my done when I was 19 so I also believe my immune system and body was at its peak for internal strength which could also explain why I formed scar tissue so fast. I was also battling years and years of tendon/muscle atrophy to start so rehab was difficult. Has your surgeon discussed manipulation with you before opening your knee back up? I had two manipulations done to break up scar tissue. The second one helped some, but ultimately I ended up breaking the scar tissue loose on my own accidentally. All said and done, I had the replacement, two manipulations, a leg cast with cranks built in to it to turn to try to slowly bend my knee. It all took well over a year, but I am now 0-105 or so. Not as much as I had hoped for, but better than the initial 15-45 I was stuck at right after the replacement.

Jump to this post

Oh god, we are twins, but I’m just behind you. I’m sitting here with my same medieval leg brace. Crack her up, Scotty! I’m at #3. I tried sleeping with it, but 4 hours is all I can stand. I’ll have to wear it during tv/reading hours at night. I think it might work a bit. I get so down in the wee hours. Daylight hours are better. I’m at 60 degrees of flexion at pt, but functionally more like 35 on a good moment. I’m happy for you. I’d love 105! You must hav3 worked really hard. I know.

REPLY
@dduke

I also had scar tissue problems. Had the lysis procedure after six months, which helped quite a bit. Some scar tissue has come back. I have a keloid issue, is that prevalent with yours?

Jump to this post

No keloids that I know of. Can you tell me about the arthrolysis procedure? When? Outpatient? Recovery? How much pt? It would be helpful. Thanks, k

REPLY
@katp

No keloids that I know of. Can you tell me about the arthrolysis procedure? When? Outpatient? Recovery? How much pt? It would be helpful. Thanks, k

Jump to this post

I had to wait six months before arthrolysis. My DR. was concerned about infection. Outpatient, lasted about two hours because there was so much scar tissue. Aggressive PT (I even used my exercise bike for 10 minutes every three hours, set the alarm during the night). I had an MUA scheduled, Dr. wanted to scope me and if he found a lot of scar tissue he would perform lysis. Well, he found a lot of scar tissue and told my wife, while I was still under, that there was no way I would have broken through all that myself. Got 110 right away, had to work hard to get to 120. Some of the scar tissue has come back after a year.

REPLY
@dduke

I had to wait six months before arthrolysis. My DR. was concerned about infection. Outpatient, lasted about two hours because there was so much scar tissue. Aggressive PT (I even used my exercise bike for 10 minutes every three hours, set the alarm during the night). I had an MUA scheduled, Dr. wanted to scope me and if he found a lot of scar tissue he would perform lysis. Well, he found a lot of scar tissue and told my wife, while I was still under, that there was no way I would have broken through all that myself. Got 110 right away, had to work hard to get to 120. Some of the scar tissue has come back after a year.

Jump to this post

Wow. All I can say is wow. Why can’t they find a drug to stop the scar tissue. Dumb question. I know I can’t break thru mine. It feels like metal guitar strings wrapped all around my knee, in all directions. It feels like it’s beneath the skin, not in the joint cavity like some of the videos I watched on the internet. So I assume it was a closed procedure. I’ve read about the open one. Just awful. How did you make it all these days with no progress? I’m going crazy. One day at a time. I know patience. So you had a stationary bike? Guess I should look into one. I can’t make it around yet. I thank you so much. You have given me hope.

REPLY

Hi, I have had 2 knee replacements one back in 1992, another 1996. I have had 24 knee operations due to football. 6 or 7 were scopes. When I had my first knee replacement I Tons of scar tissue like you went to PT and did nothing to remove scar tissue. Both my knees had a full range of motion. Had 2nd Knee replacement same problem. I had shoulder surgery Doc tried to do manipulation on both my knees while I was out for my shoulder surgery. He could not get them to move at all. Both knees are almost completely frozen now with 10 deg range of motion. My scar tissue just grows so fast. I'm in a lot of pain due to my scar tissue. Knee replacements are solid and are not lose. I tried to get into to see many doctors and they would not touch my knees. It really sucks.!!!!!!!!!!!!

REPLY
@katp

Wow. All I can say is wow. Why can’t they find a drug to stop the scar tissue. Dumb question. I know I can’t break thru mine. It feels like metal guitar strings wrapped all around my knee, in all directions. It feels like it’s beneath the skin, not in the joint cavity like some of the videos I watched on the internet. So I assume it was a closed procedure. I’ve read about the open one. Just awful. How did you make it all these days with no progress? I’m going crazy. One day at a time. I know patience. So you had a stationary bike? Guess I should look into one. I can’t make it around yet. I thank you so much. You have given me hope.

Jump to this post

It was a closed procedure. You can convert an existing street bike with a $50 stand on Amazon or build one with 2 x 4's. It really helps to have the bike. Whenever I feel it tight, I can bike for 15 minutes.

REPLY
@bamasaban3601

Hi, I have had 2 knee replacements one back in 1992, another 1996. I have had 24 knee operations due to football. 6 or 7 were scopes. When I had my first knee replacement I Tons of scar tissue like you went to PT and did nothing to remove scar tissue. Both my knees had a full range of motion. Had 2nd Knee replacement same problem. I had shoulder surgery Doc tried to do manipulation on both my knees while I was out for my shoulder surgery. He could not get them to move at all. Both knees are almost completely frozen now with 10 deg range of motion. My scar tissue just grows so fast. I'm in a lot of pain due to my scar tissue. Knee replacements are solid and are not lose. I tried to get into to see many doctors and they would not touch my knees. It really sucks.!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jump to this post

Wow.. @bamasaban3601 – I am so sorry to hear about your limited range of motion. I know that must be so discouraging. I had two TKR's and thankfully did not have the issues of scar tissue, but even without that, the recovery was challenging enough. I can't imagine just 10 degrees of flexion. Are the doctors giving you any recommendations – surgery, PT?

REPLY
@bamasaban3601

Hi, I have had 2 knee replacements one back in 1992, another 1996. I have had 24 knee operations due to football. 6 or 7 were scopes. When I had my first knee replacement I Tons of scar tissue like you went to PT and did nothing to remove scar tissue. Both my knees had a full range of motion. Had 2nd Knee replacement same problem. I had shoulder surgery Doc tried to do manipulation on both my knees while I was out for my shoulder surgery. He could not get them to move at all. Both knees are almost completely frozen now with 10 deg range of motion. My scar tissue just grows so fast. I'm in a lot of pain due to my scar tissue. Knee replacements are solid and are not lose. I tried to get into to see many doctors and they would not touch my knees. It really sucks.!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jump to this post

Oh my, I am so sorry to hear of so many surgeries and pain. Scar tissue is like being taken over by aliens. It seems the more pt tries to work it out, the angrier it gets. I hope you can find relief somehow. God bless you.

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.