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I am a 68 year old male who for the past 20 years suffered debilitating arthritis in both knees. It had got to the stage where pain killers were of little use.
On investigating different methods of TKR ( Total knee replacement) I opted for the latest 3D technology via Conformis knees who are an American based company. They have many Consultant surgeons throughout the UK and I found Ravindra Gudena who came well recommended and does his consultations and surgeries at both Fairfield Hospital St Helens and The Spire Cheshire Hospital in Warrington.
Mr Gudena explained in great detail how much more effective the Conformis knee joint is compared to an ‘off the shelf’ implant that has been in use for many many years. A 50 minute surgery to implant the knee and a greatly reduced recovery period. I had 3D scans of both knees and off they went to Conformis in America who designed and manufactured bespoke implants for both my knees.
I was told the recovery period could take up to 12 months and it was explained that I would literally have to often (daily) have to go through the pain barrier to get full movement back to my joint ,not allowing the scar tissue to form and restrict movement of the joint!
I had my right knee surgery on January 18th 2019 , the operation took 46 minutes and Mr Gudena was quick to show me photos/ videos soon after I woke up from the sedation. Gory indeed!
I was in excruciating pain six hours later but when prescribed the correct pain medication that worked for me, I finally had some respite and slept. 48 hours later I was discharged from hospital as I was able to walk down stairs using crutches. I was told to leave the waterproof bandage/ plaster on for eight weeks and make sure I did not get any infection in the wound, after the eight weeks I returned to hospital for X rays and to meet with Mr Gudena to ascertain how the joint replacement was progressing!
The eight weeks went by quickly, I was able to walk without the aid of crutches after six weeks. I have had a static bike installed at home and was able to cycle freely without pain. At which point my knee bend was at 110 degrees of flexion and it still needed another 10 /20 degrees in order to get full knee bend. Also I got to within four degrees of having my knee totally straight, from 20 degrees.
I diligently did all the knee exercises that were recommended by my physiotherapist, which was painful and caused significant swelling, both of which I was told were entirely to be expected – no pain no gain. I used an ice pack knee bandage up to five times a day for 20 minute periods which gave some welcome relief.
I was recommended to buy and use an Artesian Hot Tub Spa which would aid recovery, 40 degrees of water, high pressure jets directed on both my calves and thighs would greatly increase movement of the joint whilst enabling undertaking my exercises / stretches in the Spa with significantly less pain and considerably more flexibility. This was a massive help in getting my flexibility back on track.
This proved to make a massive impact on my recovery, both in terms of pain management and reducing my recovery time. I used the Hot Tub Spa 3/4 times a day for 20 minute periods, I wrapped polythene round the joint and used waterproof tape to seal around the joint ensuring no water ingress for the first few weeks while my dressing was still in place.
I really truly believe this significantly speeded my recovery, I am now cycling three times approx 20 miles a week each trip. I recently was able go on a golf holiday, playing four consecutive rounds of golf using a buggy with no ill effects, and no painkillers either – Amazing!
I have played (and won) competitive tennis on two occasions this week and have full movement back in my knee confidently standing, turning and stretching . It causes me no pain at all! In fact after the first match my left knee was giving me severe arthritic pain, and I felt no pain or swelling in my new knee.
It is now the 22nd of May, just 123 days after surgery – I feel fantastic, it is vital to follow your consultants recovery programme to the letter and just as important was the Artesian Spa which was fundamental in my recovery programme.
I now look forward to having my left knee done in October after I have enjoyed playing lots of golf, tennis and cycling over the summer.
~ Colin L