Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lateral Meniscectomy and Microfracture - The Road to Recovery

I know what you're thinking.

"Ok, Arun. I get it. You had knee surgery. But what's with all the jargon? What makes you think I have any idea what the thread title is even talking about!?!"

And you're right. A few months ago, I wouldn't have been interested either. BUT, I decided to deviate from my usual extremely witty commentaries and crazy adventures because, before I had this procedure, I was scouring the internet for Partial Lateral Meniscectomy and Microfracture info, and its a bit hard to find, and the treatment and recovery is all over the board.

So, now, when people search, with any luck they'll find a couple of posts by yours truly, and maybe have a couple of questions answered (and obviously discover the most amazing collection of witty writing ever amassed, by "His Humbleness"...ME).

So here's the how it went down.

Several months ago, I had an MRI revealing a partially torn lateral meniscus and lateral articular cartilage damage in my right knee. That didn't sound good, so I went to an orthopedist.

The first doc revealed I would probably need microfracture surgery which, for those of you who aren't familiar with it, is a relatively new-ish surgery in which holes are drilled into the bone such that stem-cell-containing bone marrow bleeds out into the area devoid of cartilage. The stem cells stimulate new cartilage growth, and in a few months, you're theoretically back in action.

There are a couple of caveats though: for starters, the surgery is not 100% effective and there's about 20% of people for whom cartilage regrowth doesn't happen.


Second, a number of professional athletes have never totally gotten back to their pre-surgery all-star form (ie Tracy McGrady and Chris Webber). This bummed me out until I realized A) Those guys are slightly better at basketball than me anyways, B) I'm exactly known for my extreme jumping abilities and C) If I return at Tracy McGrady or Chris Webber's basketball form, I will be 100 times better at basketball than I've ever been.

The biggest bummer of them all though is the recovery time she told me about: six weeks on crutches, no driving, physical therapy for 3 months thereafter.

There goes Arun's summer of awesomeness.

So I did what any sensible person who doesn't care for the prognosis does - I got a second and third opinion and elected to do the surgery with the last guy.

Here's where things get interesting. The last two orthopedists work together in the same practice and have a LOT of experience. They also proceed with recovery much more aggressively than most orthopedists as their experience shows identical post - op results while minimizing patient inconvenience.

So here's my recovery:
Procedure: Partial Lateral Meniscectomy and Femoral Microfracture

Post Op Days 1 - 10: Crutches and non weight bearing. On day 5, I started daily stationary bike with no resistance. Off of pain meds by Day 3 (and probably could have been a day sooner).

Day 10: Full weight bearing allowed while wearing brace. Physical Therapy begins.

Day 12: By now, my limp is pretty much gone and I'm walking without the brace with minimal discomfort.

So here I am now at day 22. My knee is certainly not normal yet, but there's definite improvement. Walking is for the most part, pain free. Occasional dull ache is the knee at both meniscus sight and microfracture sight (though not necessarily at the same time). I've started some light elliptical training and physical therapy is slowing escalating in impact.

Overall, I think I'm definitely headed in the right direction and am well ahead of schedule. Now I won't be running or playing sports for another couple of months, but hopefully I've provided some of you with some positive feedback and information if you're about to get microfracture.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming...


Anonymous said...

Great post, glad to see someone had the same problem finding similar information as me. Just had the same surgery (lateral microfracture and a partial lateral menisectomy) and am hoping for a similiar recovery as yours. How is your knee doing these days?

Arun said...

Well to be completely honest, not too good. 6 months post op, I was back playing basketball and tennis, feeling pretty good. But then things started to degenerate again and now I basically have knee arthritis. I'm hoping to try something like PRP soon and see if that improves anything.