I still get many comments about my MPFL reconstruction, and I'm so glad that many people have found it helpful. I get so many comments, that it is difficult for me to respond to all of them, but I did want to give a quick update to many of the questions that I get asked.
Q: What exactly did you have done?
A: I had MPFL reconstruction and a scope to clean up damaged cartilage in June 2010 after a patellar dislocation/MPFL tear in December 2009.
Q: How many surgeries have you had on your knees?
A: I have had four total: two on my left knee and two on my right. When I was 15, I had both knees scoped with a lateral release. This surgery was unsuccessful in stopping my patellar dislocations. At 17, I had a left knee realignment. From what I remember, ligaments were transposed and are held together at the base of my knee with a screw. This has successfully stopped dislocations, but according to doctors, my knee still appears unstable. I've had MPFL reconstruction/scope on my right knee at the age of 37. A piece of my hamstring was grafted on the inner side of my right knee, and the scope cleaned out damaged cartilage. Although suffering a partial dislocation, my knee is stable and generally in good shape.
Q: How long were you off from work with your MPFL surgery?
A: This is complicated! I work in a school, so I actually scheduled the surgery during summer vacation. Therefore, I wasn't really taking time off from work. I had about 2 1/2 months off from school to recover, but I truly believe that I could've gone back to work the week after the surgery. I wouldn't have been as mobile as I would have liked, but I was up walking around, doing some housework, taking walks...the day after surgery. I had very little pain. At the most, I would have taken two weeks off from work if I had the surgery done during the school year.
Q: Did it hurt? What kinds of pain meds did you take?
A: In all honesty, it wasn't that painful. For the first two days, I took percocet regularly to stave off pain, but those gave me a headache that hurt worse than my knee, so I stopped those after two days. I did have a nerve block which helped, but it left part of my leg numb for about six months. Not painful--just annoying. And, I have full feeling back now. I was also given vicodin, but I never needed it. I occasionally took ibuprofen before physical therapy.
Q: How much therapy did you do?
A: I went to 24 physical therapy sessions--3 x a week for 8 weeks. I also worked out extensively at home--stretching every chance I could get.
Q: How long before you got full range of motion?
A: I could go around fully on a bike at 4 weeks, and I also could bend my knee fully at 4 weeks. This is only because I did the stretches and strengthening exercises religiously at home and at therapy.
Q: Any complications?
A: Yes. I received a cortisone injection last week in my right knee due to pain. The doctor believes it is inflamed scar tissue. The injection worked (yay!), but I have no idea how long the effects will last. I may have to have another scope to find out if scar tissue is blocking my patellar tracking, because my knee is locking in place.