Day 105: Checking the progress

105 days since injury
43 days since surgery

It is now over six weeks since surgery, so I booked an appointment to see my consultant Mr Bilal Barkatali.

The treatment so far has been fantastic. I am lucky enough to have private health insurance in the UK, which makes a world of difference compared to our standard NHS.

I plan to write a full guide to getting the correct treatment on the NHS in the UK. I went that route for my first ACL reconstruction over 17 years ago and, in summary, it’s a real challenge.

Back to today, and we went through my surgery details again. I saw a few pictures of the inside of my knee, and Mr Barkatali shared a few insights into the techniques used.

Tunnels are drilled for the new ACL to be fixed. In this procedure, my original bone and PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) were put back into the knee to aid healing and encourage stem cell production.

Instead of traditional metal screw fixings, my new graft has been fixed with buttons on the outside of the bone. As I understand, this allows for stronger graft tunnels and a thicker, stronger ligament.

The meniscus was very badly damaged. The medial meniscus was torn at the root. The lateral meniscus was also torn and detached at the root, and in the main body.

Despite that, it was all fully repaired with no meniscus removed.

I was sent for an X-ray and back for the results within 20 minutes. This showed the bone tunnels had all healed well and ahead of schedule.

DIAGNOSIS:

  1. Left knee quad ACL reconstruction plus medial and lateral meniscus repair six weeks ago.
  2. X-rays taken today showing good positioning of tunnels and hardware.

PLAN:

Review in four and a half months with MRI scan on the morning of appointment, request carried out.

Carey had a biologically enhanced ACL reconstruction with bone grafting of his tunnels and platelet injection into his graft, which will help graft osseo-integration, stop any tunnel widening and hopefully help the ligamentisation process.

Some interesting details about the surgery, taken from the report from this follow up appointment.

I had some more questions. During this recovery, I have been thinking hard about what level of activity I will get back to. Playing football again is unlikely, simply due to the risk vs reward, and I have also been deciding on running.

Mr Barkatali was incredibly encouraging. Without any hesitation, he encouraged me to get back to pre-injury levels of activity. That is the whole point of this surgery and there is no reason I should slow down.

My knee joint is otherwise healthy. There are no signs of arthritis or underlying cartilage damage.

I will be back for another appointment in six months and will get an MRI scan at that time. This is reassuring as I will know that the meniscus has fully healed, and that will give me the confidence to push hard to get back to sport.

After this appointment, I felt a lot lighter and more confident about this recovery.

So far, it’s going as well as it possibly could.

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