Very, very scared to have knee surgery and hip surgery

Posted by cindiwass @cindiwass, Jul 6, 2021

I am in constant pain, usually when I walk or stand, knee and hip. Of course, when I am on my recliner I'm not in much pain so I stay there a lot. I used to swim until about 5 years ago, but I notice the hip pain was even worse after I swam.
When I was much younger (I'm 77) I had a torn cartilage (basketball game where some kind soul [yes, sarcasm] pushed me down), and subsequently the cartilage was removed. That's what I remember the doctor told me. I was young (16) and healthy, I recovered quickly enough, but had swelling and trouble for years until finally it became unbearable. I would get cortisone shots lbut eventually stopped doing that. (They were painful anyway.) But about 5 years ago, pain extended to my right hip, excrutiating, more so than the knee. (Don't know why.) I've seen several doctors and they all tell me to get hip and knee replacement. I am scared. But the problem I'm having now is that the doctors (I've seen quite a few) all tell me that I need to have a replacement, that I have arthritis. One doctor got upset when I asked him for more detailed information. And I didn't know how to ask the surgeon for detailed info, like what would he do and could he please explain what the x-rays showed. (Also, why do I have pain?) But the pain really impedes me from living a normal life, that is, cleaning, organizing, straightening up, etc. I made an appointment with a surgeon near enough who has a reputation of being very kind and compassionate. So I hope he'll bear with my questions.

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Write your questions down. If you have the luxury, find a doctor that will answer your questions and explain the procedure. I am 4 months out of a TKR and wish I had asked more about what would happen during and after. Think I would have been better prepared. Good luck!

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I had a TKR in December . I had a fractured knee cap 41 years ago . I was 19 and suffered . They said they couldn’t do anything . My surgeon now is awesome . I’m a slow healer and had to go to therapy for almost 4 months but now I’m doing better than I can ever remember doing. I won’t lie. The first 3 weeks were bad pain wise. Physical therapy was hard but I did my exercises everyday and I still am . As scary as it was and I was terrified, I’m getting my other one done close to the end of the year . I can’t do it now because of insurance won’t cover more therapy yet. I couldn’t do anything before, I dragged my leg kind of when walking , couldn’t clean , nothing . Now I can do most things in moderation. My knee bend was slow but I stayed persistent and it is a mind set . Do it …. Get your life back. It will take time to heal but it’s worth it. My left knee and leg are pain free. First time in 41 years . The key is to move and do therapy exercises to build your muscles .

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Hello – I understand your fear! I was in my early '50's and expecting to be told I needed a cortisone shot in my hip when a very brusque Ortho walked in and said "Wow, I didn't expect to see you. You have the hips of an 85 year old. Which one should we replace first?" Being inexperienced with surgeons, I didn't get up and walk out looking for someone else, but I did get new hips. The lesson I learned was to find a doctor you are comfortable with, who will answer your questions to your satisfaction. Please, do not just suffer pain that could be relieved!

All that said, it sounds like you need a surgery and recovery plan, to be able to calmly approach the coming surgery and recuperation. Here are a few questions to think about and ask the doc:
Which one first, hip or knee? Why?
Which hip, which knee and why? (So you can go home & do research)
Which surgical technique for each surgery & why? (Again -research)
Will I be able to go home, with help, or will I need transitional care?
Any way to estimate time between surgeries?
Do you have someone I can call as I think of more questions, or can I send them through a patient portal or email?

Do you have someone you can bring along to your appointment to be your scribe, and write down what the doc says so you can review it later?
Good luck with your appointment, let me know how it goes!
Sue

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@janete718

I had a TKR in December . I had a fractured knee cap 41 years ago . I was 19 and suffered . They said they couldn’t do anything . My surgeon now is awesome . I’m a slow healer and had to go to therapy for almost 4 months but now I’m doing better than I can ever remember doing. I won’t lie. The first 3 weeks were bad pain wise. Physical therapy was hard but I did my exercises everyday and I still am . As scary as it was and I was terrified, I’m getting my other one done close to the end of the year . I can’t do it now because of insurance won’t cover more therapy yet. I couldn’t do anything before, I dragged my leg kind of when walking , couldn’t clean , nothing . Now I can do most things in moderation. My knee bend was slow but I stayed persistent and it is a mind set . Do it …. Get your life back. It will take time to heal but it’s worth it. My left knee and leg are pain free. First time in 41 years . The key is to move and do therapy exercises to build your muscles .

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Janet,
Thank you for your encouraging report! Isn't it wonderful to lose that pain?
And thank you for the reminder that there will be pain and hard work, but if you persist you do better. I did therapy for a whole year after my hip replacements – it took a long time because I had to do both sides (surgeries were WAY too close together – I'll never do that again!) – but it was worth every minute.
Keep moving – you will be amazed at how much better your life can get.
Sue

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@njpahl

Write your questions down. If you have the luxury, find a doctor that will answer your questions and explain the procedure. I am 4 months out of a TKR and wish I had asked more about what would happen during and after. Think I would have been better prepared. Good luck!

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At first I just wanted to hear what the surgeon said. I didn't ask questions. Now I'm more prepared. I guess I'm afraid of his reaction, but at least I'll know what kind of person he is. So yes, I will write my questions down. My question would be, how would he know what size knee replacement I should have, how much incision would he have to make, and how can he tell where I need help before he opens me up, also how much of the bone will he have to shave off, if that's what they do? I made an appointment with a doctor that specializes in pain, the hospital website (a large conglomerate around here) has references to things like acupuncture and other types of pain management. So hopefully the doctor there will be able to understand, listen, and recommend wisely. (I guess I don't trust doctors. Ya think?)

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@sueinmn

Janet,
Thank you for your encouraging report! Isn't it wonderful to lose that pain?
And thank you for the reminder that there will be pain and hard work, but if you persist you do better. I did therapy for a whole year after my hip replacements – it took a long time because I had to do both sides (surgeries were WAY too close together – I'll never do that again!) – but it was worth every minute.
Keep moving – you will be amazed at how much better your life can get.
Sue

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I'm going to work on it — prayer, ask for guidance and direction. Because I need it. Thanks.

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@sueinmn

Hello – I understand your fear! I was in my early '50's and expecting to be told I needed a cortisone shot in my hip when a very brusque Ortho walked in and said "Wow, I didn't expect to see you. You have the hips of an 85 year old. Which one should we replace first?" Being inexperienced with surgeons, I didn't get up and walk out looking for someone else, but I did get new hips. The lesson I learned was to find a doctor you are comfortable with, who will answer your questions to your satisfaction. Please, do not just suffer pain that could be relieved!

All that said, it sounds like you need a surgery and recovery plan, to be able to calmly approach the coming surgery and recuperation. Here are a few questions to think about and ask the doc:
Which one first, hip or knee? Why?
Which hip, which knee and why? (So you can go home & do research)
Which surgical technique for each surgery & why? (Again -research)
Will I be able to go home, with help, or will I need transitional care?
Any way to estimate time between surgeries?
Do you have someone I can call as I think of more questions, or can I send them through a patient portal or email?

Do you have someone you can bring along to your appointment to be your scribe, and write down what the doc says so you can review it later?
Good luck with your appointment, let me know how it goes!
Sue

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Thank you! I'm going to make a list of those questions. I also want to ask if he does minimally invasive surgery, and if not, why not, and if he recommends it for my knee.

REPLY
@sueinmn

Janet,
Thank you for your encouraging report! Isn't it wonderful to lose that pain?
And thank you for the reminder that there will be pain and hard work, but if you persist you do better. I did therapy for a whole year after my hip replacements – it took a long time because I had to do both sides (surgeries were WAY too close together – I'll never do that again!) – but it was worth every minute.
Keep moving – you will be amazed at how much better your life can get.
Sue

Jump to this post

Another good question, because it's my right hip and my right knee that gives me trouble, a lot of trouble. (Pain.) So I need to ask (thanks again) which should be done first, and then again — the question is — why.

REPLY
@janete718

I had a TKR in December . I had a fractured knee cap 41 years ago . I was 19 and suffered . They said they couldn’t do anything . My surgeon now is awesome . I’m a slow healer and had to go to therapy for almost 4 months but now I’m doing better than I can ever remember doing. I won’t lie. The first 3 weeks were bad pain wise. Physical therapy was hard but I did my exercises everyday and I still am . As scary as it was and I was terrified, I’m getting my other one done close to the end of the year . I can’t do it now because of insurance won’t cover more therapy yet. I couldn’t do anything before, I dragged my leg kind of when walking , couldn’t clean , nothing . Now I can do most things in moderation. My knee bend was slow but I stayed persistent and it is a mind set . Do it …. Get your life back. It will take time to heal but it’s worth it. My left knee and leg are pain free. First time in 41 years . The key is to move and do therapy exercises to build your muscles .

Jump to this post

I am so happy for you.

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@cindiwass

At first I just wanted to hear what the surgeon said. I didn't ask questions. Now I'm more prepared. I guess I'm afraid of his reaction, but at least I'll know what kind of person he is. So yes, I will write my questions down. My question would be, how would he know what size knee replacement I should have, how much incision would he have to make, and how can he tell where I need help before he opens me up, also how much of the bone will he have to shave off, if that's what they do? I made an appointment with a doctor that specializes in pain, the hospital website (a large conglomerate around here) has references to things like acupuncture and other types of pain management. So hopefully the doctor there will be able to understand, listen, and recommend wisely. (I guess I don't trust doctors. Ya think?)

Jump to this post

Good evening @cindiwass, I noticed that your questions about knee replacement surgery seem to look like you copied them from my long list of worries and inquiries. I too have a pretty hard time trusting doctors. My first knee replacement was done 10 years ago and I had a compassionate and knowledgeable surgeon.

And now for my other knee. What a difference 10 years have made in the technology available to assist surgeons. I am having a Mako Robotic procedure next month. I selected the surgeon because of his interest in compassionate patient care. I just met him and he thoroughly explained the technology and used a video to walk me through the surgery.

Here is what I like…..using images which I will get shortly for him, he maps out the surgery. Then, without having to root around inside the knee area, he can direct the robotic equipment to follow the visual roadmap. This way he doesn't have to dig around in there himself. He clears shaves off the meniscus and uses all plastic to cover the area rather than the metal I have in my other knee.

This surgery takes about 45 minutes and with a nerve block, my pain will be much less and I will be able to come home the same day. Supposedly the pain is much less and the PT will start very quickly so that I can spend less time hobbling around.

Here are a couple of links that I found quite helpful. What do you think?

http://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/robotic-orthopedic-surgery/overview/ovc-20472153
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiLf4KGd494

May you be safe, protected, and free of inner and outer harm.
Chris

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@cindiwass

Thank you! I'm going to make a list of those questions. I also want to ask if he does minimally invasive surgery, and if not, why not, and if he recommends it for my knee.

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There are quite a few techniques out there – each appropriate in different cases. For example, my surgeon would not use the anterior approach on my hips because I am small, and he did not feel he would have an adequate view to get everything positioned right. My friend had one minimally invasive knee replacement, and the other a full long incision – he knew there was extra damage in the second knee he would need to work on.
Sue

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@sueinmn

There are quite a few techniques out there – each appropriate in different cases. For example, my surgeon would not use the anterior approach on my hips because I am small, and he did not feel he would have an adequate view to get everything positioned right. My friend had one minimally invasive knee replacement, and the other a full long incision – he knew there was extra damage in the second knee he would need to work on.
Sue

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That makes sense. Another question I'm going to ask is about if he uses minimally invasive, and how does he determine? I know this is putting a surgeon (at least the ones I have known) to the test, but then again, I wonder if they're taught to not bring up any more than the patient brings up. hmmm, I wonder…but — it's ok because now I am better prepared. (I hope.)

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