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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The first two weeks post-op

     Sarah's recovery from her MPFL surgery has been thankfully uneventful. I wanted to give a little overview of how the first two weeks went.

Before Sarah's injury was diagnosed, I had never heard of MPFL. I'm sure like most, I knew of the "big" guys- ACL. MCL, LCL meniscus. So what and where exactly is the MPFL? I used a google search to find a good visual. The ligament attaches on the patella(knee cap) and the femur (thigh bone). It's main job is to keep the patella stable and in line.

All of this was corrected with the surgeons skills and the generosity of someone donating their body after they died so others could benefit. Sarah's MPFL was actually replaced with a tibia tendon. Pretty amazing and we all have such gratitude for this donation.

Sarah's knee a few days after surgery. The 2 lower incisions were for tools and the scope, so they are quite small. The larger incisions on the inside of the knee and the top of the patella are where the actual reconstruction took place. There was quite a bit of swelling  and she was very tender for the first 2 weeks.

Side view of her knee.

It took almost 5-7 days before bruising showed up. Her knee looked jaundiced.

The bruising was mainly in the work areas near the larger incisions.

Just when I thought it wouldn't get any worse, it did! Thankfully this was as bad as it got and it slowly faded over the next 7-10 days after they first appeared.

Besides the 2-3 times Sarah goes to Physical Therapy each week, she has this machine at home. CPM- Continuous Passive Movement. It's used to help gain mobility in the joint to prevent scar tissue from forming and locking up. It can be programmed for just about everything- how fast to move, highest degree, if you want to pause at the highest/lowest point. 

Sarah has to use the CPM machine for 2 hours every day. Right now her limit is no greater than 70 degrees, but I believe that range will soon be increasing.

Besides the Physical Therapy, CPM, and showering, Sarah is in her full leg brace 24/7. It is in a full lock meaning she is not allowed to bend her knee while wearing it. Her pace is a bit slower these days, but she has managed to get stronger and start building her muscles to gain greater mobility.

Sarah went for her first post-op visit at one week. It seemed like this was one of her milestone dates during her recovery. That is when she started to slowly wean off her pain meds and started to gain more strength to start the rehab on life back to normal. 

I also wanted to mention that cool blue contraption on her knee. I talked about it briefly in her surgery post. It's called the cryo cuff. It's basically an air cast that she could wear as much or little as she wanted. Instead of air being filled, it's filled with ice water! More effective than a simple ice pack and the relief that it gave Sarah was immense.  We could switch out the water as often as she requested using the water cooler than came with it. A simple siphon with an detachable hose from the cooler to the cuff made it a breeze! I loved seeing the visible joy on Sarah's face every time I gave her fresh ice water. I'd say it was her BFF for the first two weeks.

Back in the exam room, I helped pass time by taking photos of Sarah with a model knee. It was very easy to see the MPFL on the hands on model. I should have thought to take a pic of that!

While Sarah laid pretty low the first several days, we did manage to get her out and about. We took her to the movies and then grocery shopping afterward for her first outing. The benefit of her surgery- using one of the killer shopping carts typically reserved for an older generation. I will say that JT loves this perk and will do his best to ride side saddle when Sarah shops with us.

  • Sarah upright and moving! She has crutches to use for stability. She basically "walks", as per her therapists, but the crutches take some of the load off her leg as she rebuilds strength and balance one again.

    While the crutches are still here (behind the happy couple), Sarah has gained enough in her stability to stand and walk for short distances.

    Sarah goes back to Dr Carbon for her next follow up in a few days. We are hopeful that she will be cleared to drive and perhaps have some motion released on her brace. I'll be sure to post an update next week with her progress.

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