Initial Visit and Bone Graft

I first got in contact with the Dr. LaPrade in March of 2016. He reviewed my records and stated that I was a candidate for a medial meniscus transplant. However, due to significant enlargement of my bone tunnels, I had to undergo a two-staged procedure starting with a bone graft using donor tissue. It takes 4-6 months to recover from a bone graft, then I could have Stage 2.

In April, I travelled to Vail, Colorado to undergo stage 1. I did not know what to expect for the procedure and had difficulty finding any information online regarding the recovery, so I went in a little blind. Although the surgery went well,  my doctor found considerable cartilage defects (grade 3) and a lateral meniscus tear. He did not fix the tear because it appeared as though it would hold until the next surgery. This meant that in addition to an ACL re-revision and medial meniscus transplant, I would also get an osteochondral allograft transplant (OATs) and a lateral meniscus repair.

A note on pain: prior to surgery I only received one nerve-block. That was a mistake. When I woke up, I was in a tremendous amount of pain. It was SIGNIFICANTLY worse than both of my ACL surgeries AND the meniscus transplant. I spent the night in the hospital and the my pain was at a 7 or an 8 almost the entire time. Eventually, one of the anesthesiologists came in and gave me a second nerve block in the back of my leg which improved things greatly. Moral of the story: if they offer two nerve blocks, take two nerve blocks.

The morning after the surgery I started going to twice a day physical therapy at office attached to the hospital. For the first two weeks we did the usual exercises (flexion, extension, quad contraction, leg raises).

I planned to stay in Vail for 6 days then fly back home, but due to pretty significant pain I ended up staying for about 10 days. Although the bone graft was significantly more painful than any other procedure I’d undergone for the first 4 days, it completely tapered off by day 5 or 6. I was on crutches for a week and by 4 weeks I was able to bike and swim.

So at this point I had no ACL and no meniscus, so I really had to limit my activities and be careful to prevent further damage.  Overall, the bone graft was pretty unremarkable save for the intense pain in the first 3-5 days. Now I just had to wait for the graft to heal.

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