Elaine's ACL surgery

by Elaine
(England)

I waited 2 years after my skiing accident before having surgery......as i was really scared of the thought of it. I finally got so frustrated that I went ahead and had my reconstruction on 4th March 2009.

my surgeon did a great job and I'm pleased with my progress except that i don't have full extension yet.I had to stop taking the nsaid's as they were killing my stomach, but I'm worried that the swelling will impede progress.I'd love some feedback from others on their range of movement in the 2nd week.
For those of you who are about to do the surgery I would say dont panic. My own experience is that the post op pain etc is not as bad as the post injury pain and immobility. At least this time I feel like I'm working towards a full recovery.
At 10 days post op my wounds have healed and I can manage with no painkillers...... it's truly amazing!

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Oct 05, 2015
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Education NEW
by: Anonymous

The assignment and essay writing are very priceless and worthy. It is imposing and expanding superior research paper the skills and abilities of the life. The inquisitive and curious aspects are coined.

Feb 20, 2010
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Less Freaked Out Now
by: Denise

Wow, I thought I'd leave an update message in case it helps anyone else who is reading through these comments. I had the ACL reconstruction, with a synthetic ligament, as per the advice of my surgeon. Let me just emphasise that I live in the UK, and this graft choice might not be an option in other countries.

I was completely freaked out and felt really alone and scared because for some reason I seemed to be the only one who was ever going to have this type of graft. This was my experience: I had surgery in the afternoon and left the hospital the same evening with crutches, painkillers, and some basic physiotherapy exercise instructions to follow at home. Thankfully, I had no infections (apparently this is one of the fears about synthetic ligaments)and my incisions were tiny and healed so fast it stunned even me. Rehab was uncomfortable, but I worked hard and had a full range of motion back after a few months. I was discharged from physiotherapy five months after my initial surgery with a stable knee and at six months, I was discharged completely from the orthopaedic clinic. I won't say my knee is as perfect as it was before surgery, but it's sometimes hard to tell which knee I had surgery on, and that's a pretty good result!

As my Surgeon kept reasuring me, research into synthetic ligaments has come a long way, and although some of the negative things written about them may be true, this has not been my experience at all. The best thing is, I still have my hamstrings and patellar tendon in tact, and don't have to worry about those secondary aches and pains. The worse part of this whole experience was me managing to sprain my thumb while babying my knee and having to cope with two injuries at once.

So to sum up, people are unique and have different experiences, and even if you read horror stories on the Internet this probably won't apply to you. I had a lot of people praying for my recovery and supporting me through this, and I feel happy that I had the graft choice I did. I hope this comment helps to encourage someone else who's feeling as alone as I did back then.

Denise

Dec 17, 2009
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questioning
by: jeff

i tore my acl last year,. used the allograft. it was going great for a while. tore it again playin ball. i was thinkin of using a synthetic graft. wonderin if anyone out there has had any success with the synthetic.

Apr 07, 2009
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graft choices?
by: Bart - SII

Denise, did your doctor give you a choice regarding your graft, or was synthetic the only option? An allograft may be an option, as it can be sized according to your needs and is not restricted by your tendon length. If you are concerned about your options and the synthetic graft, I would discuss it with your doctor some more. I have read that they do have a higher failure rate, although just because they are not approved in the US doesn't necessarily mean that they are terrible. But, if you have the option, it is worth exploring it.

Bart

Apr 03, 2009
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Synthetic Grafts
by: Elizabeth

From the Mayo Clinic's website: "Some types of synthetic grafts have been tried either as a replacement for the ACL or to supplement a natural graft. But synthetic grafts have a high failure rate, and synthetic supplemental grafts show no advantage over biological grafts."

Also, from Sports Injury Bulletin:

Synthetic grafts have been shown to be stiff with poor elastic properties and induce foreign body reactions, resulting in increased infection rates. They are expensive and should be avoided.

In the US there are no synthetic grafts approved for use by the FDA for ACL recontruction."

I am surprised they are in use in Europe as none of this sounds very good.

Apr 03, 2009
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Hi
by: Denise

I thought the exact same thing about synthetic grafts but I live in London and my doctor assures me they are commonly used in Europe. I just have to trust that he is a good doctor. He does hundreds of ACL reconstructions and I guess he's seen it all. Still it does worry me.
Denise

Apr 02, 2009
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Back to skiing at 9 months post-surgery
by: Elizabeth

I tore my ACL skiing in February 2008 (age 49 but very active). I had it reconstructed with a cadaver graft in May 2008. My surgeon also gave me the option of the hamstring graft but did not think that the patellar graft was as suitable for me and would require a longer rehab period. Surgery went great with no complications and not too much pain (on pain medication for approximately 1 week) and I was back to work and doing extensive rehab 1 1/2 weeks post-surgery (also a lot of walking by the end of June). Was back to spinning classes beginning of July. I went to PT twice a week through September and then PT once a week through December. In December I was given the OK by my surgeon to return to skiing mid-winter (with a functional custom fitted leg brace) and skied an entire week in Utah in February with no problems.
Overall, 11 months post-surgery my leg feels pretty normal most of the time but it still gets sore/stiff when I do too much and feels a little stiff when I get up in the morning. Could be age but my other leg feels perfectly fine all the time.

If I had to do it over again, I would not change anything. The worst part of the whole experience was having to wear (and sleep with) the large leg brace for about 4 weeks post-surgery.

I was under the impression that synthetic grafts did not work out and were rejected. A synthetic graft was not an option given to me by my surgeon (in the U.S.).

Apr 02, 2009
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Hello Again
by: Denise

Hi Elaine,
I know what you mean about having the surgery to ensure a stable knee without limitations(right now I can't even tiptoe or squat properly... I'm restricted to walking on level ground in a straight line). I was curious about what graft choice you had for the surgery. I'm really short and my surgeon thinks a synthetic graft would be best for me as he would not be able to harvest a long enough strip of my hamstring or patellar tendon - I have my doubts but have been reassured by my GP and physiotherapist. I'm struggling to find anyone else who has had a synthetic ACL graft (most people seem to have a hamstring or patellar tendon graft). This is my only reservation about having the surgery. I hope your rehab is progressing well. It's really strange how people have different experiences with this injury - when I first got injured I fell to the floor and couldn't stand on the leg but I felt virtually no pain and there was no swelling. My major problem was instability but as time passed the pain started to get really bad. I'm wondering what my Post-Op pain will be like.
All The Best.
Denise

Mar 31, 2009
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getting there.....slowly
by: Anonymous

Hi Denise,
I'm now 4 weeks into my rehab. I'm off crutches and managing to get about, but i still have to ice frequently to keep the swelling under control. This rehab is not as bad as i expected..... i was definitely worse after my injury and at least I know I'm working towards a stable knee and not a life full of limitations. Good luck with your op, and please get in touch later if you need any reassurance
Elaine

Mar 31, 2009
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Hi Elaine
by: Denise

Hi Elaine,
I'm also in England and like you, it's going to be quite a gap between my initial injury and surgery. I injured my knee last October and will be having the ACL reconstruction surgery in June (decided to have the surgery on the NHS rather than privately). I just wanted to wish you all the best with your rehab. I know how difficult it is to live with this injury and I hope your knee heals well.
Denise

Mar 19, 2009
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ACL story at 1 1/2 month
by: Anonymous

I am in the same boat, I got mine done a month before you on Feb.4 . I was finally relieved of my brace last week and told by the doc to start walking a little and swim. I have 0-100 degree range of motion,with 0 degree being full extension of the leg. I tried to walk a little, but my knee started to swell, get stiff, and get painful, so I am ease off on the walking for now.

I was also told to do like 400 leg raises a day as my calve is losing it muscle tone. Following his advice and looking on youtube for rehab videos has help. I started a site with a collect of videos that I've gathered at www.aclbrace.org
You can got there and take a look.

Also I am afraid of the tissue scaring as mentioned by others, so I am taking their advice and massasing my knee as often as possible in the hope that it will help reduce the scarring.

As mentioned my knee got swollen and stiff, so I started researching and found out about the scarring issue. I recommend that you look into that as it can have long term negative effect on your knee if not probably taken care of early.

At 1 1/2 months, I am at 0-100 degree range of motion.

Good luck with your recovery.

Mar 14, 2009
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ACL surgery
by: Rebaboh

Elaine - Thank you for your reassurance. I really hope that the post op pain is less than the immediate from the injury. To not worry is not possible right now. In exactly 30 days, I will undergo the surgery. I don't even think I was this nervous when I had my LapBand put in October 07.

Thanks for the update & feel better real soon!
Rebecca

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