(Closed) Bees with knee issues…ever had a hamstring graft?

posted 9 years ago in Wellness
Post # 3
1237 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

Let me first preface this by saying I am not a doctor and that only your own doctor and medical team know all the details of your situation. I am a certified athletic trainer and I can only tell you about my own patients’ experiences with these surgeries.

First of all, I’m so sorry about all you’ve had to go through! There is no reason why you should have been through all of these surgeries, but it sounds like you are now in really good hands at Mayo (I’m sure you know that they have a fantastic reputation).

In my personal experience, (dealing mostly with a college-aged, active population), the patellar tendon autograft is the most common ACL repair. Seeing as you’ve already had this once, it probably has not been recommended to you again, because there is probably not enough healthy tissue to harvest again. A hamstring tendon autograft is also fairly common, though different doctors prefer different procedures. It is true that you will need to rehab both of your legs, but if you have a good doctor and physical therapist AND if you are proactive and keep up with your rehab, you should have a very easy recovery on your donor leg. Rehab will mostly consist of stretching and strengthening your hamsting complex, which I’m sure you’re used to based on the number of surgeries you’ve already had.

As for your injured knee, I’m sure your doctors have told you that you most likely have a certain amount of irreperable damage, including arthritis, which can’t be removed. It really stinks that your previous surgeries were apparently so poor, because at the age of 15, you should have recovered easily. My bottom line is that it sounds like you have done a great job educating yourself about the procedure, it sounds like your new doctors are doing a great job, and as long as you get a good PT and work hard, you should be feeling a LOT better, very soon.

I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any other questions I can help you with!!

Post # 5
1237 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

Your donor leg won’t have the same “knee pain” you’re used to having in your injured knee; essentially your surgeon will take a portion of one (or several, depending on the thickness and strength of your tendons) of your hamstring tendons (those cordlike thingies on either side of the back of your knee). If you feel on the back of your knee, you can probably feel two separate cords on the inside (medial side) of your knee and one on the outside (lateral side of your knee). This is because your “hamstrings” are a set of three separate, strong muscles. The main concern after surgery is to restrengthen and heal the portion of your tendon that was removed, as well as restore full range of motion to your knee (because if your hamstrings tighten up after the surgery, your knee wouldn’t be able to straighten out completely). The pain you may experience will be more of a muscular tightness and soreness, rather than the achy, bony pain you feel in your knee now.

I haven’t had any patients who have serious complications on their donor leg, it seems that there is usually less pain and recovery time when compared to a patellar tendon graft, as well as a smaller scar. I do agree that I have seen patients have tougher recovery with the patellar graft, though I think they may recommend that more to athletes (my main patient group) since the graft is more reliable and stronger. Since you aren’t (I don’t think) a serious athlete, you just want to continue to have a more active lifestyle than having no ACL would allow. Your donor leg should have a near-full recovery and you shouldn’t experience any knee pain at all. The most common thing I have seen is pretty common: a person who didn’t follow-up properly with their PT or didn’t do their home stretching routine and still experiences tightness or the inability to fully straighten the knee joint. There are also the obvious risks that exist with any surgery, like the possibility of infection or scarring if the wound is not properly cared for.

I understand that with the history you’ve had you’d be scared to go under the knife again, especially to have a procedure done on the leg that isn’t giving you any problems! Feel free to pm me if you have any more questions, I don’t mind! Good luck with everything and I hope it all works out well for you! Smile

Post # 6
218 posts
Helper bee

My surgeon couldn’t have said it better: Knees are stupid joints.

I am 24 and I have had 3 knee surgeries. My mother has had 1, and my sister has had 2. That’s right, I come from a family of bum-knees.

I also severed my ACL and both sides of my meniscus in gym class when I was 16 and had reconscruction surgery shortly after, with a hamstring graft. The surgeon also pinned down my meniscus with tacks that were supposed to hold it down until it began to heal, then they were supposed to dissolve.

Well, physical therapy sucked, and I was on crutches for what seemed like FOREVER. Shortly after I got of crutches (like, 6 weeks later or something) I started having horrible pains in my knee, so I went back in for another surgery (where they kind of went in with no ideas, because they couldn’t find anything wrong.) It ended up being one of the tacks from my meniscus came out and decided it would much rather be lodged in my joint.

Anyway, I went about 5 years with off and on pain in my knee (arthrightis) until it started getting pretty bad again. I went back in and had to have ANOTHER surgery so they could take out MORE torn meniscus.

Anyway, my ACL had been fine, although my knee has always felt a little bit looser than my good one, but my doctor said it looks perfect.

My sister got a cadaver graft for her first surgery, and it ended up loosening up so badly that they had to go in and put in another one. She seems to be doing well now. My mother never bothered to get either of her ACLs reconstructed… and she’s doing great! ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, I’m going to have arthrightis for the rest of my life, my horseback riding career was ruined because of it, and I always know when it’s going to rain.

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