CASE STUDY

A lateral facetectomy of the patella proved the best way of stabilising Lynita’s right knee so she could get on with her life.

Lynita was struggling with everyday activities as a result of the pain in her right knee and needed a solution to help her function normally.

After Lynita’s right knee “went pop” during a dance class in 2015, she couldn’t walk without it feeling unstable and using the stairs and driving became problematic.

After a few months’ rest followed by a course of physiotherapy, there was no improvement, so Lynita approached her GP to ask for a consultant referral to Professor Wilson. She had researched consultants locally and Professor Wilson came up with good reviews.

She assumed that Professor Wilson would tell her there was nothing further he could do for the osteoarthritis she had in both knees. However, at her first appointment he was immediately proactive in helping her understand what the issue was with X-rays and an MRI scan, which revealed deterioration on the outer side of both knees due to the kneecaps being misaligned. Professor Wilson believed this was a defect she had had from birth.

Over the next eight months, Professor Wilson arranged some non-surgical treatments, including further physiotherapy, gait analysis and injections, only when these proved unsuccessful, was surgery discussed.

Professor Wilson performed a lateral facetectomy on Lynita’s right knee in September 2016. The operation went smoothly, and it took about 12 weeks before all the swelling disappeared. Before the operation her knee was so unstable that it often felt it was going to give way, but after the operation and a period of physiotherapy that instability vanished and Lynita was able to return to exercise.

Lynita says that she did experience moments of doubt, both when the non-surgical treatments were unsuccessful and during the first six weeks post-operatively, when she wasn’t sure if the operation had worked. However, once the swelling had gone, she was delighted with the outcome as she no longer felt she was going to fall over, could drive without pain and get back to the gym.

She does still experience pain when using the stairs and hasn’t been able to return to her dance class yet. A year after surgery, her left knee also became a problem. She had to manually bend or straighten it occasionally, which was painful. She asked to be referred to Professor Wilson again and after trying the non-surgical route first, is currently in the process of arranging a lateral facetectomy on the left knee.

Lynita says: “I found Professor Wilson professional but also friendly and positive about my knee issue and surgery but also realistic and was happy to take the time to explain things and address any of my concerns. I would definitely recommend Professor Wilson. If he suggests a non-surgical route to start, I would follow that as it’s nice to know that all possible routes have been explored before surgery.”

Lynita would also recommend the lateral facetectomy operation for people with the same problem as her, but says that in her experience, patience is key, because there will be some swelling and soreness initially. She was however, back driving short distances within four weeks. She adds: “Post-operation do your physio exercises as it really helps with your recovery – you have to participate in your own recovery.”

February 2019

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