I had my surgery on the 10th, its now the 15th. my doc had to use the tendon graft bc by the time of my surgery it was 13 weeks post injury and my muscle had retracted almost 20cm. The graft had a piece of bone attached to it and he drilled 1 larger hole in my bone and the boney part of the graft was shaped to insert into this hole and then anchored and attached with composite material. He had to 'clean-up' my sciatic nerve and remove alot of adhesions and scar tissue from the muscles too. Of course, now I have a longer tendon than before bc the muscle cannot be pulled all the way back the way it was naturally. but at least its not all sitting in a lump near my knee. i had a total of 3 hours of surgery time, and then 3 hours recovery room. Because of my neck problems they set up the surgery table like a massage table so I was kept in a neutral position for my neck and back. I have no complicating post surgery issues. My daughter had gall bladder surgery a few years ago and they injured her right shoulder and she had some lower back nerve compression from the surgery too.
The nurses were great, gave me some ice paks to go with too. The cost wasn't bad, I thought. I paid it myself and I am keeping the faith that the resort will reimburse me all of my costs, as they have said they would. About $3400 for everything not including surgeon and surgical assistant fee ($3500.00). I stayed in a hotel for 4 days until my 1st post-op visit on Monday. Being in a hotel with continental brekkie ( tons of beautiful fruit, I ate my fill of fresh pineapple and blueberries!) appies in the afternoon too was a big help, along with lots of fluffy pillows! A handicap room is essential, but I have some suggestions for them if they ever do some renos!!
I am in the hip brace which does allow me a little bit of bend (20%), my doc wants me in it 100% until my 6 week check-up on June 18th. He used to use the leg brace until he saw that it did more harm to the knee. I am so glad that I can toe touch for walking, bc, I am a big girl and am quite strong, but have pulled a muscle on my right chest/abd area already. Also, its hard on the neck and shoulders. I have a walker and crutches.
I have a backwards number 7 incision. Across x 4 inches and down x 7 inches. he used a waterproof dressing, but still no showers till day 10, just to be careful. Also, he used dissolvable sutures and the 'anchors are a calcium and plastic composite that will meld with my own bone as it heals. I won't be ringing any security metal detectors!
I was able to ride home in the front seat of a Jetta (4 hours), with the seat cranked back all the way. Mostly tree tops for a view! We stopped for a bathroom break and boy was I a novelty, had alot of sympathetic comments, and people were walking around me like I was a rabid dog!!
Lots of pain meds to start, I am starting to wean down slowly. Ice paks are still my best friend.
As to physio, my doc said no until after 8 weeks or so. I am going to call and ask about going just for the ultrasound and interferential treatments which are just to help the healing process along. I have a massage therapist coming to my house once a week to help with circulation etc.
To the young woman with the recent injury, I was unable to walk immediately after my fall and the pain was severe. I bruised from bum to knee within 2 -3 days. I tore calf muscles in my other leg about 12 years ago, and was bruised for 6 weeks from that, as well as unable to walk without crutches for 3 weeks. A lack of bruising is strange, I would say that she needs the mri to diagnose what has happened, no other xrays/ultrasound show the muscles and nerves etc like an mri does. Most young people actually pull off a piece of bone from the pelvis too. I had an ortho trauma specialist misdiagnose me 4 days after my injury because he did an ultrasound and it didn't show the avulsion. He diagnosed a grade II muscle tear.
If anyone reading this lives near enough to see Dr. McAdams in Seattle, I highly recommend him. He has been great.
caio for now, Joani
Sorry to hear about your injury - I can sympathize - I went two months misdiagnosed -and a severe avulsion - they said to me "we don't know how you can walk" (peg leg is not walking) It was very frustrating and am now 5 wks post surgery.
You have to have it done - the alternative is worse - be sure you have a good support system - help at home you will need somebody especially the first few weeks and some strong emotional support as well. A wheel chair and walker will be very helpful. NE Baptist is supposed to be the best hospital in Mass. I remain optimistic for a full recovery - you will be ok - but do not delay any longer. I found the most frustrating part was reliving the injury - as you know it starts to feel a little better - even though it's not right - and then when it is cut into for repair - it is tough but it was certainly not as painful as the initial injury - the difference being you have a surgical incision that needs delicate care. It is also alot of pressure on the upper body - so use the wheel chair and walker - they'll be your best friends. Good Luck!
INSIST ON A MRI! Xrays are not adequate - nor is the human eye.
I am 56, avulsed my hamstring Jan 2009. Had surgery Dec 2009m with a cadavor achilles tendon for a hamstring. Mine retracted half down the bak of my leg. Had two incision, one across the bottom of the butt cheek, the other down the back of the leg. I also needed to have the sciatic nerve debrided, which was done by the same surgeon.
Lots of therapy, still have difficulty with the leg. I developed a sympathetic nervous system disorder, am on pain meds to get through the day. I work about 24 hours a week, unable to get back to full time yet. My leg continues to have weakness and instability, everytime it comes in contact with anything slick, it gives away on me. Have tremendous difficulty going up inclines, which I am told is because my hamstring and calf do not talk together well. My original docs kept telling me it couldn't be fixed as it was a muscle tear, did not get the official MRI until 9 months after the injury.
Not being able to sit is one of the worse things. Whenever I sit, I am sitting on the surgical site, and the area with the sciatic nerve injury, no way around it, besides lying down all day, and that is not possible.
On the other hand, I am making very slow progress. I can do more than I did last year at this time. Think I have just learned to live with it. If you decide to have surgery, make sure you shower with hibiclens to help pevent infection, take pain meds, start therapy as soon as able.
I am not near Boston, not sure where the godd docs would be. Wish I could find someone around here who has done the surgery, might make it easier for me.
Hi Baking Again,
Sorry to hear about your slow progress but glad to hear you are still making progress. While not a common complication, RSD can really make things very difficult so you have my "mad props" that you are fighting through this. Also, thank you for posting your experience. I think folks who come here for information should see the results we all experience.
Hope that your progress, albeit slow, continues.
I would recommend Scott Martin without a doubt. I'm just catching up with forum as I haven't been on here in awhile. He did my surgery last Feb. I can't say enough about him !
Hello again. Just wanted to keep any new members updated on what to expect. I had the surgery at 4 1/2 weeks post injury and I was 4 cm retracted. The surgery was done one week ago and I'm in a hip brace. The incision is about 9 inches long from just above the butt crease to just a bit above the back of my knee. I am rather short - 5"1' a bit "chunky" at 147 lbs. The hip brace was designed for someone thinner and taller than I am. That is definitely the worst part. That and the constipation from the pain meds. I've been on 200mg of Colace since the day before surgery and I just started Miralax yesterday because I was desperate. Sorry for such "descriptive" information, but we're all here for the same reason, and I want to help as many people as I can. I'm almost totally off the pain meds, but I'm still on the miralax....just saying!
The brace "cuts" me at the back of the knee and at the (sorry) boobs - it's because I'm short, so I'm just giving you the truth. I would still prefer this brace over one that locks the knee, because that would really be torture.
Speaking of torture, I can't shower for 2 weeks total (one week down - yeah!!) and can't sit for the full 6 weeks that I need to be in the brace. The only options are lying down or standing up on crutches. I can partially weight bear on the operative leg, though. So I either eat/drink lying down (rather tough) or standing up - tiring. Again, just to let you all know what a potential recovery consists of.
The few items I purchased because of advice from this site are AMAZING! I bought a grabber (excellent for picking up most things, but can't yet get my own underwear on ;-(...), a raised toilet seat with a "scooped-out" side for the operative leg (awesome!!), and a female urinal (it's supposed to be for camping, but it's awesome for not having to sit for every bathroom "activity".
Sorry if I've been a bit too graphic for this site, but I really want to be helpful to all of you who have not been through this yet - knowledge is power!
Thanks to all of you that provided me with such wonderful advice and to the newbies, please feel free to ask me any questions!
Easy healing to all of you,
Last edited by ima164; 23-05-2012 at 12:35 PM. Reason: grammar mistakes
I'm in my third week of rehab and happy with my therapist. He has me doing some intervals on the stationary bike, one leg bridges, lunges, squats, leg raises, balancing, foam roller to loosen and promote deep healing. The focus is on rebuilding strength and some endurance. I'm cleared to swim as much as I want. I am at the stage where the gains are dramatic, but I expect there will be some plateaus soon. I am still pushing a lot of protein to help restore muscle and fish oil for inflammation. I have pain on some stretches and deeper squats, but it's heading in the right direction. There is no substitute for the hard work it takes to rebuild.
Glad to hear things are going well. The challenges you describe are quite common I think and in a few weeks will all be behind you. I was in the hip brace for 6 weeks also with no sitting, etc. and had many of the same experiences when you only have two positions (standing or lying down). See if this works for putting on your underwear or other loose shorts -- stand at the side of a bed, ottoman, or coffee table that is knee height or slightly shorter (use a pillow or towel if the surface is hard). Support yourself with your good leg on the floor, your knee of your injured leg on the support with your foot hanging over the edge unsupported (lower leg at roughly 90 degrees). Use one crutch on your good side for stability as needed. Find the leg hole in your shorts and reach around backwards with your hand on the injured side to work the leg hole over your foot on injured side. Don't worry about how the shorts are oriented or twisted as long as you get into the correct leg hole. Work your shorts up the injured leg until you get to mid thigh and then straighten them out and turn them around so that they are fitting correctly on your injured leg with the remaining leg hole in front of your body. Now face forward and stretch the leg hole down with the hand on your good hand while lifting your good foot up until you get it into the leg hole. I'm not acrobatic nor flexible and I could get dressed this way after the first few days even with that silly brace. At the risk of too much info -- when I used the facilities I often only took my shorts off of my good leg and just rotated them out of the way my bad leg and held them tight at mid thigh (used a rubber band like a hair tie in the early days) - that way I only had that last step to get them back on and I could always reach them at mid-thigh. If I ever let them hit the floor there was no way to get them back on except by the procedure above. That brace was tough to work with but you'll see how well you adapt and learn what works for you.
Best of Wished for a speedy and uneventful recovery.
Kirkwood - thanks soooooo much for that fabulous description! It was terrific and it worked! As far as the "facilities" issue, I had already figured out that trick - lol! The underwear/shorts with the operative knee bent on a support is terrific! I hope others will read this and benefit from your excellent advice as well.
I am scheduled to go to the surgeon next Wednesday for stitch removal and hopefully he will increase the ROM on this brace from 0 degrees to ... anything more!!! I'm so very uncomfortable and I can't sleep at all!!! The lack of sleep is the worst part. I would even keep up with the pain pills, just to sleep except they're so constipating so I'd stopped them after a few days.
Hope all of you are healing well and counting down the days (as I am) to better strength and mobility.
Stay strong and thanks for such wonderful support and advice.
Last edited by ima164; 25-05-2012 at 08:52 PM.