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?

Just had an appt with os at 12 weeks post op. He says he wants to do closed arthroscopy in 2 weeks to remove scar tissue. My patella is now fixed, immovable, surrounded in scar tissue. I have a lot of pain. I’ve tried to schedule 2nd opinion appts. but now the surgery is before any of them. My surgeon is adding a new partner who will see me before the procedure. If he disagrees with my initial surgeon, then he will refer me to yet another surgeon. All this is maddening, but I can almost not continue if I do nothing. My scar tissue causes so much pain. I’ve done a lot of research and made a list of drugs to help reduce adhesions. I asked my surgeon to consider them. He said he may consider collagenase. In the hospital, he wants me to have an epidural for 2 days while I use a cpm, followed by 3 consecutive days of pt. Thanks to a member of this group who shared this idea, I will use my stationary bike every 3 hours round the clock or some way to maintain constant movement. I think he will prescribe the cpm for home use too. But he warned me that he has patients who show up 6 months, 4 years, and even 8 years after tkr with new scar tissue growth. I want to give up, but I can’t. I know many of you have worked much harder along this scar tissue road than I have. I pray for you all.

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Gee. I wish you well. I feel so badly when I read your efforts and sounds like you are almost guiding your surgeon. My best wishes TO GET THIS RESOLVED. I thought medicine in the U.S. is supposed to be amazing…..but sounds like they have more work to do to realize the amazement!
My gallbladder surgeon always says "You're fine". I find that to be such a meaningless and unsophisticated statement when noone can solve my situation.
Namaste!

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@tennisgolf

Gee. I wish you well. I feel so badly when I read your efforts and sounds like you are almost guiding your surgeon. My best wishes TO GET THIS RESOLVED. I thought medicine in the U.S. is supposed to be amazing…..but sounds like they have more work to do to realize the amazement!
My gallbladder surgeon always says "You're fine". I find that to be such a meaningless and unsophisticated statement when noone can solve my situation.
Namaste!

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Interesting, I just had a second doctor who would not look at my knee for a second opinion until my one year anniversary! So patients are forced to return to the initial surgeon when things go wrong, when there is tremendous pain. Only the initial surgeon can request a second opinion with another physician. This is very disappointing. Anyone have a better experience? Worse?

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@katp

Interesting, I just had a second doctor who would not look at my knee for a second opinion until my one year anniversary! So patients are forced to return to the initial surgeon when things go wrong, when there is tremendous pain. Only the initial surgeon can request a second opinion with another physician. This is very disappointing. Anyone have a better experience? Worse?

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@katp I have never been in the position of needing a second opinion after surgery but this just does not seem right to me. It must be a courtesy between doctors, but not fair to the patient.
JK

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@contentandwell

@katp I have never been in the position of needing a second opinion after surgery but this just does not seem right to me. It must be a courtesy between doctors, but not fair to the patient.
JK

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I was told the reason for not seeing a patient until after a year is because you are still healing for a year.

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@kibe75

I was told the reason for not seeing a patient until after a year is because you are still healing for a year.

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@kibe75 Ahhh, maybe that’s why then, although I think there is a certain level of pain that exceeds what is within range of healing pain.
JK

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I am so very sorry for what you are going through. Had TKR almost 7 mths ago. Problems too, but I work the heck out of it to keep from getting scar tissue. Its still swollen and feels like it moves the wrong direction and a doc here said he thought the implant was to large as I am petite. I think he is right. My surgeon keeps saying "Its fine" so I have seen two others for second opinons. One doc on a recent trip to Mayo….but I had to fight to get to see the ortho I wanted and that will be the one who does my other knee….not staying in my state and letting them screw up the other knee! I had a surgeon friend tell me the "won't see you for a year, its still healing" line is because most states have 1 year statute of limitations if the patient has to have other surgeries due to first not being done correctly. I talk to many others who have had TKR and are back out playing tennis in 6 mths and others who tell me horror stories. It all comes down to you, the patient, not accepting their excuses and being a tenacious advocate for yourself. I would not be walking today, if I hadn't refused the 15 surgeons excuses, "Oh you are in pieces after your surgery and none of us know how to put you back together again. Sorry but you will have to live in a wheelchair." My response was, "oh no I won't because I'm going to find a surgeon who knows how to put the pieces back together again!" And, thank the Lord I did find two ortho trauma surgeons at Mayo who had ideas of how to do it and, even tho the said the odds were stacked against me, they agreed to give me a chance to get my life back again. We had many hurdles to climb, but I refused to give up because I knew I would walk, hike, swim, travel and take care of myself again. Don't give up, keep researching to find a doc who might have other ideas and can help you. Good luck friend.

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@killerbees

I am so very sorry for what you are going through. Had TKR almost 7 mths ago. Problems too, but I work the heck out of it to keep from getting scar tissue. Its still swollen and feels like it moves the wrong direction and a doc here said he thought the implant was to large as I am petite. I think he is right. My surgeon keeps saying "Its fine" so I have seen two others for second opinons. One doc on a recent trip to Mayo….but I had to fight to get to see the ortho I wanted and that will be the one who does my other knee….not staying in my state and letting them screw up the other knee! I had a surgeon friend tell me the "won't see you for a year, its still healing" line is because most states have 1 year statute of limitations if the patient has to have other surgeries due to first not being done correctly. I talk to many others who have had TKR and are back out playing tennis in 6 mths and others who tell me horror stories. It all comes down to you, the patient, not accepting their excuses and being a tenacious advocate for yourself. I would not be walking today, if I hadn't refused the 15 surgeons excuses, "Oh you are in pieces after your surgery and none of us know how to put you back together again. Sorry but you will have to live in a wheelchair." My response was, "oh no I won't because I'm going to find a surgeon who knows how to put the pieces back together again!" And, thank the Lord I did find two ortho trauma surgeons at Mayo who had ideas of how to do it and, even tho the said the odds were stacked against me, they agreed to give me a chance to get my life back again. We had many hurdles to climb, but I refused to give up because I knew I would walk, hike, swim, travel and take care of myself again. Don't give up, keep researching to find a doc who might have other ideas and can help you. Good luck friend.

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This morning, 12 days until my arthroscopic surgery, I don’t have the stamina or fight that you have. I thank you, sincerely, for sharing it. I know what I need to do, but right now, in pain, I don’t have a fight in me. For every strong person like you there are multiple people like me. I will reread your post often. Blessings, k

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@killerbees

I am so very sorry for what you are going through. Had TKR almost 7 mths ago. Problems too, but I work the heck out of it to keep from getting scar tissue. Its still swollen and feels like it moves the wrong direction and a doc here said he thought the implant was to large as I am petite. I think he is right. My surgeon keeps saying "Its fine" so I have seen two others for second opinons. One doc on a recent trip to Mayo….but I had to fight to get to see the ortho I wanted and that will be the one who does my other knee….not staying in my state and letting them screw up the other knee! I had a surgeon friend tell me the "won't see you for a year, its still healing" line is because most states have 1 year statute of limitations if the patient has to have other surgeries due to first not being done correctly. I talk to many others who have had TKR and are back out playing tennis in 6 mths and others who tell me horror stories. It all comes down to you, the patient, not accepting their excuses and being a tenacious advocate for yourself. I would not be walking today, if I hadn't refused the 15 surgeons excuses, "Oh you are in pieces after your surgery and none of us know how to put you back together again. Sorry but you will have to live in a wheelchair." My response was, "oh no I won't because I'm going to find a surgeon who knows how to put the pieces back together again!" And, thank the Lord I did find two ortho trauma surgeons at Mayo who had ideas of how to do it and, even tho the said the odds were stacked against me, they agreed to give me a chance to get my life back again. We had many hurdles to climb, but I refused to give up because I knew I would walk, hike, swim, travel and take care of myself again. Don't give up, keep researching to find a doc who might have other ideas and can help you. Good luck friend.

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You're right. A friends son was a competitive skier, and had 14 surgeries on his injured knee. No help. Finally went to big city hospital in Philadelphia, and doctor told him they hadn't fixed to problem. He did surgery, and the don is now fine. Scary, isn't it!

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@katp

Interesting, I just had a second doctor who would not look at my knee for a second opinion until my one year anniversary! So patients are forced to return to the initial surgeon when things go wrong, when there is tremendous pain. Only the initial surgeon can request a second opinion with another physician. This is very disappointing. Anyone have a better experience? Worse?

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That is not the case in my state( Fl.)-after being failed miserably by original ortho surgeon- I received and paid dearly for two other opinions from other surgeons, Chose one- finally went thru revision and ultimately hip replacement as well- a long painful healing but I would Never let original incompetent Dr. touch me again!

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@damewocane I'm sorry you had to go through that; I'm right behind you! Can you speak a bit to what the recovery from the revision was like? I'm just dreading the recovery, fearing it will be as bad as it was with the original knee replacement.

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@killerbees

I am so very sorry for what you are going through. Had TKR almost 7 mths ago. Problems too, but I work the heck out of it to keep from getting scar tissue. Its still swollen and feels like it moves the wrong direction and a doc here said he thought the implant was to large as I am petite. I think he is right. My surgeon keeps saying "Its fine" so I have seen two others for second opinons. One doc on a recent trip to Mayo….but I had to fight to get to see the ortho I wanted and that will be the one who does my other knee….not staying in my state and letting them screw up the other knee! I had a surgeon friend tell me the "won't see you for a year, its still healing" line is because most states have 1 year statute of limitations if the patient has to have other surgeries due to first not being done correctly. I talk to many others who have had TKR and are back out playing tennis in 6 mths and others who tell me horror stories. It all comes down to you, the patient, not accepting their excuses and being a tenacious advocate for yourself. I would not be walking today, if I hadn't refused the 15 surgeons excuses, "Oh you are in pieces after your surgery and none of us know how to put you back together again. Sorry but you will have to live in a wheelchair." My response was, "oh no I won't because I'm going to find a surgeon who knows how to put the pieces back together again!" And, thank the Lord I did find two ortho trauma surgeons at Mayo who had ideas of how to do it and, even tho the said the odds were stacked against me, they agreed to give me a chance to get my life back again. We had many hurdles to climb, but I refused to give up because I knew I would walk, hike, swim, travel and take care of myself again. Don't give up, keep researching to find a doc who might have other ideas and can help you. Good luck friend.

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@killerbees @damewocane I am a very strong advocate of doing your research and getting recommendations before choosing your surgeon. The skill of the surgeon is the most important priority. I really did a lot of research and had personal recommendations before choosing the surgeon to do my second TKR and I have been extremely happy with it. There was a lot of pain for about 6 or 7 weeks and the surgeon himself was concerned, seeing me often during that period, but then it suddenly lifted overnight! He is, in my opinion, the best. Plus, I have the Conformis knee, custom made for the patient. That helps too. I was in such extreme pain before my first TKR that I chose the surgeon who could see me first. My knee is OK, I don't have the problems that I hear about on here. but it is not as good as the second one.

@katp Good luck on your surgery. Please let us know how it goes, and don't be discouraged with pain initially. It will hopefully suddenly improve as mine did.

@babette When is your surgery scheduled? I hope you too keep us informed. It sounds as if you have done great research in choosing your doctor so I'm sure it will be a success.
JK

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@babette

@damewocane I'm sorry you had to go through that; I'm right behind you! Can you speak a bit to what the recovery from the revision was like? I'm just dreading the recovery, fearing it will be as bad as it was with the original knee replacement.

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Sorry to tell you-But…My experience with my ongoing healing from knee revision has been like groundhog day–here i am going thru All this again-pain yes-pretty much the same as TkR, trying to get a better bend I was struggling at 78 degrees when the Dr. said-Oh time for that hip replacement-and while we're in there-why not a MUA-that bend isn't good enough… So here i am with double problems surgery was July 22 and the new pt today said-You should have seen me the day after your surgery-You're only at 55 degrees- You are so far behind… I said i could hardly get out of bed for the first week Just to use the bathroom. He forced my knee and told me to ice ice… Very daunting and pain is ever present and horrible, while they say- no more pain meds or you-we don't want you to become an addict- here have a script for meloxicam- which I am finding very ineffective for severe pain. Hope you have better trip than the one I'm on : {

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@damewocane

Sorry to tell you-But…My experience with my ongoing healing from knee revision has been like groundhog day–here i am going thru All this again-pain yes-pretty much the same as TkR, trying to get a better bend I was struggling at 78 degrees when the Dr. said-Oh time for that hip replacement-and while we're in there-why not a MUA-that bend isn't good enough… So here i am with double problems surgery was July 22 and the new pt today said-You should have seen me the day after your surgery-You're only at 55 degrees- You are so far behind… I said i could hardly get out of bed for the first week Just to use the bathroom. He forced my knee and told me to ice ice… Very daunting and pain is ever present and horrible, while they say- no more pain meds or you-we don't want you to become an addict- here have a script for meloxicam- which I am finding very ineffective for severe pain. Hope you have better trip than the one I'm on : {

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That doctor sounds irresponsible. Dump him. And, Tramadol 50 mg.isnt really addictive. Its a mild pain killer.

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@zakcat

That doctor sounds irresponsible. Dump him. And, Tramadol 50 mg.isnt really addictive. Its a mild pain killer.

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@zakcat Your post caught my eye because I am currently using tramadol for pain from my fractured femur, and trying to take the minimum amount. I just take it in the morning because when I get up the pain is more intense than later in the day.
I googled tramadol and addiction and it is addictive, even in the small quantities prescribed:
https://www.medicinenet.com/tramadol/article.htm#what_is_tramadol_how_does_it_work_mechanism_of_action
JK

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