Knee Replacement: I will abbreviate my story to the... - LSN

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Knee Replacement


I will abbreviate my story to the question; has anyone with Lymphedema in the leg had knee replacement surgery? I have experienced a few complications following surgery in March, including cellulitis which I was told was a secondary infection brought on by the lymphedema in my leg and the trauma of having the surgery. After 3 months I still have a very swollen knee and leg swells up considerably at the end of the day, I try to walk and exercise as much as I can but it does get painful and I still have to use a walking stick. I would be interested to know if other's have experienced similar problems.

8 Replies

I haven't had knee surgery, but have recently been offered a hip replacement. I would be interested to know if many have undergone similar, and if there are any recommendations for management.

in reply to MsDEL

I have had a hip replacement 1i months ago. Last 6 months have had lower back problems no idea if they are related. Hip op went fine wore stocking for the opast and afterwards my compression ones. Had antibiotics before as well as after as a precaution. Was in hospital 3 days then home 5 days after no pain killers. 3 months later started very slowly to play tennis again. After5 months was back to playing 5 days a week. Also have a dog which I was able to walk on my own after a week and just built up speed and time slowly. My leg is slightly bigger than pre op but have put on some weight!!! Make sure your consultant is on board with your LE. Good luck

I have had Lymohoedema now for 21 years and as a result have one leg much larger than the other . This has taken its toll on my body and I've now got arthritis in both hips and both knees . I went to see an orthopaedic surgeon and he said that it was very doubtful that anyone would operate on me for replacements because of the Lymohoedema . The limb wouldn't heal properly and there was a high risk of infection . Having had cellulitis in my leg in 2011 which required a weeks stay in hospital and two lots of different antibiotics twice a day intravenously for seven days followed by two weeks of oral tablets I don't really want to take the chance of this happening again as I was really poorly . In the meantime it's pain management . If I get to the point and age where it's a last resort then I might think again but at the moment I think the risk is too high

If you have not already done so I suggest you contact the Lymphoedema Support Network As well as a website they also have a telephone help line (details on the website).

Whilst not knees or hips both my sister and I have both had bunions operated on on both feet - and we both have primary lymphoedema in both legs/feet. We had input from our lymphoedema clinics and went onto antibiotics about a week before the operation. It was not straightforward for either of us but for each of us, after time, our swellings returned to our 'normal', we didn't get cellulitis and our bunion joints were so, so much better.

Through the size of my leg, my knee has been moved - I've had nothing diagnosed but my consultant agrees it looks out of place, and I'm in no doubt I will have knee issues in the not too distant future, but I have had surgery on my lymphie leg and it does not scare me.

There are two types of risk in this world - high risk and unknown risk - our limbs are obviously in the high risk category when it comes to operations, but we and the surgeons know the very real risk of infection, so they allow for it and are prepared for it.

If you need surgery, don't let lymphoedema stop you.

I can only agree...I have primary lymphoedema in both legs and have had both hips replaced. If you need a replacement lymphoedema should not be a barrier as long as the surgeon is aware that there is a higher risk of infection and they act accordingly and realise that it may take longer to recover.

Personally I got back into my normal hosiery as soon as possible after each op which I think helped the swelling and made me feel more comfortable...the knee stockings the hospitals recommend after surgery just made swelling worst!

Good luck to anyone who needs a replacement.

There's a really good article in the latest Lymphline by one of the LSN trustees who had a knee replacement which would be a big help to anyone considering this, whether or not you have lymphoedema. You might be able to get via the web link in AnneBury's post.

I thought you might like to hear an update of my circumstances and the condition of my right leg in which I have Lymphedema and had replacement knee surgery back in March. I am lucky in that my G.P. decided that my leg would benefit from a above the knee compression stocking rather than a below the knee stocking and while the nurse was measuring me I talked to the nurse whether or not it might be appropriate for me to go back to a Lymphedema Clinic if there was one local. She said she would speak with my G.P. In the mean time I tried to do some cycling, although at first it was painful and difficult my knee did bend and I got better with practise. I then managed to get myself down the Gym and I started light exercise. This has gradually helped me and in August I returned to my part-time job as a Mini-Bus Driver. I have now been to a Lymphedema Clinic and I must say the Practitioner was extremely helpful, she measured my legs and has ordered me some made to measure full leg compression stockings; she said these stockings will reduce all the swelling in my calf and knee. I am now much happier and enjoy found a bit of exercise in the gym two or three times a week very beneficial, I am now to have regular appointments at the Lymphedema Clinic to manage my condition. So my advice is to try to stay positive and seek help.

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