Adhesions after total knee replacement

From: Jayne (
Mon Jan 1 18:57:30 2001

Hi Everyone,

At the suggestion of Dr. Wiseman I am posting a message here in the hope that I can find someone else who is in a similiar situation to mine.

I was first diagnosed with adhesions 30 years ago after a appendectomy. After my hysterectomy 13 years ago though there didn't seem to be any adhesion build-up. I had my gall bladder removed in April 2000 and was told that it was riddled with adhesions which was good (Dr. Wiseman explained that adhesions can be good in the sense that they probably prevented my gall bladder from bursting). Nice to know some adhesions can be of benefit to you.

However, my worst case of adhesions came just over 4 years ago when I had a total knee replacement and I had great difficulty in bending my knee after the surgery. I put this down to the pain I was experiencing but still thought that something else was wrong.

I was not placed on a CPM right away because my surgeon didn't think they were of any use. I had intensive physiotherapy right from the start though but it didn't help.

My physiotherapist was wonderful, confused at my situation but she insisted that my surgeon look into it. It was found after three months that it was probably scar tisue so I was admitted to have this removed. This time I was put on a CPM right after I awoke from surgery. When I was discharged I was up to 70o of flexion which was far better than the 20o I was getting before the surgery.

BUT this all went downhill again. After a few days I was finding that when I had to get out of the machine (say to go to the bathroom or something) I experienced a great amount of stiffness straight away and when I strapped myself back into the machine I had to turn down the flexion control and work my way up again over a period of say an hour.

I was getting really fed-up with this and so my surgeon referred me to another surgeon who subsequently operated on me by giving me GA and tried to flex my knee but only got a 10o flexion out of it.

A few months after that operation he tried to remove the scar tissue by doing a scope on me (less invasive) and then injected the joint with Synvisc (a gel injected into joints to help lubricate them and make them easier to move). I had to have a further two shots of Synvisc a week apart and all this time I was still on the CPM. But nothing worked and I am now disabled with a fused knee.

As anyone else gone through this? If so, I would love to hear from you.

One thing that really bothered me was my doctor, some friends and even my own family members thought this was all in my head and that I could bend my knee if I really wanted too. It wasn't until almost a year after the initial surgery that everyone finally believed me that it was the rapid build-up of adhesions that caused my knee to fuse and that my head was perfectly fine.

Thanks for listening. There is one consolation here in that it was my left knee that fused and I can still drive the car. *-)

I am know wondering if the pain I am experiencing underneath my rib cage may not be a kidney stones (I was diagnosed with these a year ago) after all and could be adhesions where my gall bladder used to be. I find out this Friday if there are any stones and if not then I'm off to my GP to figure where the pain is coming from.

I am fortunate that I have a doctor who is very understanding personal friend and listens to me.

Anyway, before this turns into an epistle I'd better sign off.

Take care


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