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Knee & Hip Problems Message Board

Knee & Hip Problems Board Index

Hi pnoe,

Truly sorry that you have to go through what I've been through the past year - a TKR in each of my knees because of "end-stage" osteoarthritis, meniscal tears, NO cartilage left in my right knee last year because of a previous surgeon's arthroscopic screwup 6 years earlier, a torn ACL in my left knee, etc.

I chose to have one TKR at a time, and as I mentioned, had an arthroscope on the left knee during last year's right TKR surgery. It's just tougher and a LONGER recovery period if you have both done during the same hospital admission. (They don't actually do both TKRs on the SAME DAY - they do one to give it time to stabilize for a few days and then go back in about 4 days later to do the other one.) If I were you and one knee is a LOT WORSE THAN THE OTHER? I would ask my surgeon to do one now, and wait at least six months to give you stability in ONE TKR to work with, and then have him do the other TKR. That way, the second surgery MIGHT give you a faster and easier recovery. However, if you just want to get the whole thing done and be finished during the same hospital admission, then go for it! But I will tell you, DO NOT INSIST that the surgeon do both during the SAME SURGERY! He probably will tell you what I mentioned above, that he'll wait about 4 days in between each surgery.

If you have more questions, don't hesitate to post them here and I'll be happy to take you through what to expect both during and post surgery. (I have to get to bed right now - early appointments Thursday.)

Carol (CPW2012)
No problem. Actually, when I developed the compensating tear in the left knee a month before my right TKR in April of 2011, my surgeon said he could do both within the same admission 3 days apart. But my cousin's husband who's an orthopedic surgeon himself, and had HIS both done at the same time in 2007 (he had a special circumstance that he HAD to get both done at the same time, plus he had a bad infection, so his was an even more difficult recovery) told me NOT to have my surgeon do both at the same time or during the same admission. What I did need him to do was arthroscopically repair the left knee at the end of the surgery, AFTER he'd completed the right TKR. So, I had a longer recovery last year anyhow, even if I didn't have BOTH TKRs! (I really had no choice on the scope job - I also had a torn ACL in the left knee!)

But this year, for the left TKR, since my right one was all healed, my recovery from the left one went EXTREMELY WELL AND A LOT FASTER!!

(As Jane points out here, doing both during the same surgery really is for patients who have healthy hearts, lungs, etc. so that the general anesthesia option is more viable.) And, as for the blood loss issue, I did have to do one autologous pint of my blood for last year's TKR. However, I got too anemic post surgery, so they ended up transfusing that pint back into me two days after surgery. This year, for my left TKR, my surgeon said he did NOT want me to do the autologous donation because of the anemia issue last year. He minimized blood loss by using a cauterizing solution on the surgical site itself. That way, there were no complications and my total blood loss was about the same as last year when they re-infused the blood from the drainage tubes back into me. It only amounted both surgeries to about 150 cc's of blood loss. (which I understand is about average for a TKR surgery.) They could NOT do that with me. I had a severe asthma history, and although my asthma has been in complete remission for almost a decade, my surgeon didn't want to put me under general. He did a spinal with sedation and my asthma did NOT become a problem. He did this for both TKRs, and I tolerated the spinal with sedation very well. I only had to ask for them to give me something via IV during surgery this time around for anti-nausea. Last year, I had very bad post anesthesia nausea and I was not about to go through that AGAIN this year! So they gave me THAT med during surgery and I did just fine. NO post anesthesia nausea.

If you are more comfortable like I was about spacing out your TKR surgeries at least 3 or 4 months apart, then, yeah, I would tell the surgeon, that's what YOU want him to do. IT'S YOUR BODY, YOUR SURGERIES AND YOU ARE THE BOSS!!!!

Let me know when you schedule the first one and if you have any pre-surgery questions that your surgeon has not answered. I can probably help you in that regard since I've now been there, done that TWICE!!!

Keep me posted.


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