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Seeking bravery for Bi-lateral knee replacements
bugslinger posted:
I am 43 years old with knees that cause me severe pain daily. I have been told by three surgeons that they both need replaced. I have found a Surgeon I like and trust. He is recomending doing them at one time. Im 6 foot 3 and 165 pounds. In good shape and healthy. Is there reason to doubt having them both done at one time ,or is it the way to go? I would love to hear some reassuring words of wisdom.
Lainey_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi Bugslinger,

Welcome to the community, please feel free to join any of our discussions! I am so sorry you are in pain and hope it eventually gets better. Your insurance might require you go through a process and may only allow 1 knee replacement at a time. So before you decide what you would prefer, check with your insurance. Also, do you have someone to help you recuperate? Two knees replaced at once, can mean you are immobile for a while.

WebMD has some information that might help. Knee Replacement Surgery , gives an overview, and WebMD Knee and Hip Replacement community can give you additional support from others who had knee replacement surgery.

I hope this helps, please let us know what you decide and if you need any more help don't hesitate to post.

_swank_ responded:
There are a lot of people that swear by having them done at the same time. Personally, I would never do it that way. There are issues such as twice the loss of blood and a longer time under anesthesia that you need to discuss with your doctor. Plus twice the risk of infection.

My personal reasons mostly have to do with the difficulty in getting around afterward. You will definitely need help. I wouldn't have been able to get up stairs, into a car, in and out of chairs,off the toilet, etc. I also worry about what would happen if there was a complication in one or both legs. Mobility in general is difficult.

Whatever you do, make sure you strengthen you arms ahead of time. You will need them.
bugslinger replied to _swank_'s response:
One sure benefit of long arms. I can lift my butt about six inches off a chair and hold for a bit. Im hoping it at least makes the bathroom visits easier. I am scheduled for an August surgery. I need to do them both. What exercises will help me prepare now?
_swank_ replied to bugslinger's response:
Just get in the best shape you can before surgery. If you can swim or ride a bike that will help a lot. Swimming is my chosen sport and I think it's the best workout there is.You definitely want to work on your cardio.
An_224079 responded:
I had both knees replaced five years ago, at age 54. I had no problem with it and am mystified as to why anyone would do one at a time. Knee replacement is a lot to go through--pre op appointments, the surgery itself, hospitalization, rehab, physical therapy, follow-up appts, etc., etc., etc. I can't imagine going through that twice--not because it is such a terrible ordeal, just because it is very time-consuming.

As for the physical challenges of having both done at once--i.e., not having "a good leg to stand on," I found that to be a nonissue. You get up out of bed within 24 hours of the surgery and take a few steps--no problem. If you had "one good leg to stand on," it would prevent you from fully encountering your new knee in the way that I encountered mine. I would go ahead and do both at once. No hesitation whatsoever!
Philadelphiatoday replied to _swank_'s response:
I had both done at once and had absolutely no problem with mobility. (And please note: I am not an athlete, or even in particularly good shape.) Of course, when I got home from the hospital, I used a walker. Then a cane. But very soon, I was walking on my own. I have no idea what people mean when they say you have to do one at a time because of how hard it is to get in and out of cars, or into chairs.

The only thing I would strongly urge is that you be sure you have a couple of chairs in your home that are not low. I found it very hard to get up from low chairs. But I think that would be the case even if you had one knee rather than both done.
_swank_ replied to Philadelphiatoday's response:
Glad it worked for you. As I said, I had problems with stairs, chairs, toilets, etc with only one bad leg. Not a big stretch to understand how it would be next to impossible with two bad legs for me. Even without that difficulty I would not do both because personally, I want at least one good leg to stand on. That's my preference.

However, I never said you HAD to do one at a time BECAUSE of those reasons. There are other, more important reasons why some doctors will only do one at a time and why certain people should only do one at a time. There's is double the loss of blood, chance of infection, time under anesthesia, etc. Everyone is different and everyone has a different set of circumstances that weigh into the decision.

My doctor can do a knee replacement in under one hour if everything goes perfectly. Due to complications, my knee took 2.5 hours to replace. Imagine if I had done both knees at once and ended up 5 hours under anesthesia instead of 45 minutes.

If all goes well and you're okay with double the pain and difficulty getting around afterwards then do both at once. But complications and unexpected things happen so you must also be prepared for the unexpected.There is not one decision that is the best fit for everyone.
jokermma responded:
I got one knee replaced on 3/8/10. My surgeon suggested one at a time, in case there is any difficulties with rehab. No problems. (only the nasty food at rehab, lost 40lbs) I expected lots of pain. None to speak of. It was hard for me only because I'm not a sit around person.
Of course, jokingly, he said I wouldn't have a leg to stand on!!!
Glad I did it this way. I'll know what to expect next time, Probably will get the other done this year.

Lainey_WebMD_Staff replied to jokermma's response:
Hi Jokermma,

Thank you for sharing your experience, it really helps to share with others what we've been through.

How long was your rehab?
It's at the borders of pain and suffering that the men are separated from the boys. Emil Zatopek
2knees replied to _swank_'s response:
I did two at a time. I'm Not a good hospital patient. I would have been dragged in to do the other. My choice and doc agreeded Knees were so bad just wanted it done anted to end pain faster
bugslinger replied to 2knees's response:
And how was the experience? Im doing it out of necessity as well. I just want it over in one shot. Did u go minimal invasive?

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