Surgery! Or is it Surgery?

I think I’ve left you all in suspense long enough…oh wait….you haven’t been sitting in front of your computer just waiting for my update?;-) Well here it is anyway.

After having no improvement in my knee over the past year (and during this time I have barely run at all) and trying physical therapy (again!), I knew the next step was going to involve some type of medical intervention. My doctor had mentioned before that the surgical options to correct my cartilage issues weren’t great, so I decided to get a second opinion before I made any more decisions. This doctor concurred that surgery would be my next, best option.

So I went back to my original doctor and brought my running partner/friend along. At my last appointment, I ended up crying and not remembering details of our discussion, so it was so helpful to have her there. The PA did another quick evaluation of my knee and then the doctor came in to discuss my (limited) options. He mentioned 3 surgical options, but said that one of them is much more invasive and would only be an option if the other methods didn’t work. Basically, he won’t know what the best option for me is until he gets into my knee and can see how bad the damage to my cartilage is.

The best case scenario is Chondroplasty (definition from
Chondroplasty means ‘reshaping the joint surface’ and refers to simple surgical techniques whereby fibrillated (ragged) and damaged joint surface is cut, scraped, lasered or burred away in the hope that the healthy joint surface will heal over the defect) and if the damage is worse I will end up with a Microfracture. As defined on the About Health’s website, “A microfracture creates small holes in the bone. The surface layer of bone, called the subchondral bone, is hard and lacks good blood flow. By penetrating this hard layer, a microfracture allows the deeper, more vascular bone to access the surface layer. This deeper bone has more blood supply, and the cells can then get to the surface layer and stimulate cartilage growth.”

So while neither option is ideal, the Chondroplasty is definitely less invasive and the recovery is much easier/quicker. I am scheduled to have my surgery on November 18th but after doing more research on each procedure, I’m having second (third, fourth and fifth!) thoughts. I’m not finding many positive outcomes and it doesn’t sound like it will get me back to where I want to be…especially for the long term.

My doctor (who treats professional athletes including Seahawks/Sounders) said that if I were a professional athlete, they would try stem cell or PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) to start with. However, neither of these procedures is covered by insurance so it leaves me out in the cold. After doing research on these procedures though, I feel like either one is a better option for me than the surgeries. So…I feel stuck. And the clock is ticking. And I’m not getting any better on my own. And I just want to run, damn it!!

So I’d love to hear from anyone with experience with Chondroplasty, microfracture, Stem Cell, or PRP treatments. Or if you know anyone that just wants to give me their knee, that works too! 🙂

About Paige

I am a runner, wife and mother of three. I've been running since I was a kid and had my first taste of victory when I beat all the boys (and girls) in my grade at a school run. Since then, I've had a love/hate relationship with running....I love to run but hate how the training can sometimes monopolize my time and prevent me from doing "fun" things. So, I try hard to find the balance between challenging myself with running, while still having lots of fun on the side.
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