Jun. 13th, 2014


Jun. 13th, 2014 12:56 pm
aberdeen: (Braces)
Got to see the results of the MRI, and the X-Rays. The doctor was accompanied by a medical student (who still has a lot of studenting left to do), which I think means I got a little more explanation than I otherwise would. Though, really, for a surgeon, Dr. Sparks was very informative.

He looked at the MRI, pointed out things like the bone bruising, the chondromalacia (which we've known about for decades), and the massive amounts of edema in and around the knee.Then he pointed out the PCL, and noted how it was nice and tight and connected in all the places it should be. And then he pointed to the ACL... which was just sort of dangling there. Yes. Well. He pointed to where it should be connected to the bone but wasn't. Yes, well. Then we looked at the tear in the MCL, and the two meniscus tears. Well then.

One can, he says, live a nearly normal life without an ACL, if one is not an athlete. However. I have loose tendons/ligaments to start with, and am prone to sprains because of that, already. I have chondromalacia, and there's documentation that shows that not repairing the ACL hastens and worsens arthritis. I also live where I am likely to be walking on unstable surfaces, and not having the ACL can make even minor missteps cause more damage to the other parts of the knee. Therefore, there is a strong recommendation that we do surgery.

Unfortunately. The ACL cannot be repaired, it must be replaced. We talked very briefly about options, there. There's grafts taken from the femur/hamstring, from the patella, from the opposite femur/hamstring, and a couple others. We didn't go into a lot of detail, there, because --

Surgery has to wait for the MCL to heal, and to get as much range of motion back as I can, because whatever range of motion I have before the surgery is the best possible range of motion outcome for post surgery.

So. I have a really snazzy new brace. I can start putting weight, as I can tolerate - and as the bone bruising and swelling decrease, the pain and range of motion should increase. I spend the next 6 weeks with light duty, brace and crutches at first, and then just brace when I can walk without pain. And then we make decisions about surgery.

Post surgery is another 6+ weeks of braces/crutches. He said probably three days of catheter pain management, so probably a week in Anchorage, but it's outpatient surgery, and ambulatory right away.

Six weeks is too long to stay in a hotel, here. Duh. I'm staying through the weekend, partly to make sure the brace fits and works well enough, partly because I need time to figure out what to do, from there.

(Oh, and the Orthopedic Clinic is mailing me a disc with the MRI and X-rays. Cool, yeah?)


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