Friday, September 12, 2008

Here's an interesting article to run across, as I sit here icing down the knee:

Surgery for Knee Osteoarthritis no better than Therapy, Meds

Naturally, this is about arthroscopic surgery, which I just went through 15 days ago, and it specifically discusses patients with osteoarthritis in the knee, which I have.

However, it also describes one situation where the surgery DOES help, and I fit that description, as well:

"Arthroscopic surgery does not work well for patients with arthritis, but it does work well in certain select patients who do have arthritis but who also have another problem like a torn meniscus [the wedge of cartilage in the knee joint]," said Dr. Robert Marx, author of an accompanying editorial and an orthopedic surgeon at New York City's Hospital for Special Surgery. "The classic example would be a patient saying their knee was hurting for five years, but three months ago, they stepped off a curb, and since then, it's been killing them. It's a different pain from the arthritis.... If we put it all together, there's a good chance with surgery, but we do need to temper their expectations."

In my case, the change in symptoms was precipitated by a fall, and the knee's been hurting for a lot longer than the five years offered in the hypothetical example. But I get two things out of it. One, the surgery could leave me better off than I was before I had it, which was the reason I agreed to go through with it in the first place. Two, thanks to the arthritis, which wasn't officially diagnosed until DURING the surgery when it was seen through the arthroscope, the knee's not going to be 100% even after the recuperation, therapy, and whatever are complete. Oh, well -- it hasn't been 100% for years anyway. It wasn't even 100% BEFORE the first injury; it was aching on a regular basis. I've since learned that pain was caused by the leg muscles' strength not being evenly balanced on both sides of the leg. The kneecap was being pulled into the wrong position as a result, and this issue frequently precipitates a dislocation. File it under "Live and learn and don't forget to take the NSAIDs on schedule."

Meanwhile, I'm sitting here watching a marathon of Rocky movies. Bravo is showing the first four movies of the series, back-to-back. I saw most of the first movie, and the second one started not long ago. It's been way too long since I saw either of these films. I'd forgotten how charming they are.

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