Knee Surgery and lymphedema and other

I have mild lymphedema and lupus. I take a shot once a month of depo medrol for my pain and have found that it takes down the swelling in my legs. If I go over my month it starts swelling again. I also have a condition called Lipodermatosclerosis where the skin hardens around my ankles and now is starting up my shin bones which makes even mild swelling very painful. I know that predisone does shorten your life span and always said I would never do it but there comes a time when quality over quantity does make a difference. I am facing knee surgery. My knees are completely gone and I am facing knee replacement. I am really a little apprehensive.

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  • My darling please try to find a surgeon who has experience of working with patients who have lower limb lymphoedema and/or your other condition. I think the LSN may have a leaflet about surgery which you could take with you. There is always likely to be some swelling around the surgery site but this can be managed if you get proper care. Good luck x

  • Please find a physiotherapist who is lymphoedema trained prior to your surgery. They can advise you on knee prehab (exercises to get you in the best shape prior to your surgery), and assess your lymphoedema now (before it gets worse before the surgery). As you know, you will probably have heaps more swelling post-surgery for a time. You will probably need some assistance with getting the fluid down (MLD, exercises, bandaging). The lymphoedema bandaging can help move the fluid out quickly. Do you have any compression to wear at the moment for your lymphoedema? You may be a good candidate to get a wrap-system (like Farrow Wrap or Circaid or ReadyWrap) to help with your recovery/ongoing management. Be careful about the anti-embolic stockings that the nurses may ask you to wear. If you are given any and they do not fit well, get them off! Your skin is delicate and painful - those stockings are not suitable for legs that are not the 'normal' shape nor in good shape, so to speak. All the best with your upcoming surgery and recovery. Clare.

  • I have tried the compression stockings. Not good. The last time I used ace bandage and it worked better. I put it on and then just used knee highs to make sure it was held in place and tops not on my leg itself. I have arthritis in my hands and it is hard to put on compression hose anyway.

  • I missed my appointment with my joint Dr. due to weather. I go in Feb. I will bring all this up for him. No date has been set so I can find out what I need to do. I know that depomedrol keeps it under control and also it helps everything feel better. My heart doctor reminded me it shortens your life but I have no life without it. I can't even get up and walk or bend my knees with the swelling. So be it. I thought I would never think like this but it is quality over quantity.

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