In April, it will be two years since I had the MACI and MPFL reconstruction knee surgery. If you remember, back in October of 2018, I had the first knee surgery to get me prepared for the big MACI surgery and MPFL knee surgery that was part of surgery number two. Now that we are quickly approaching the two year mark, do I still think the surgery was worth it? Would I do it again if my left knee needed the same thing?
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What is the MACI and MPFL Knee Surgery?
So, very simply put, the MACI procedure is a two part knee surgery where in the first part, the surgeon will go in, assess the situation and take a biopsy of the damaged cartilage. That biopsy is sent to a lab and they literally grow knew cartilage for you, from your sample! In the second surgery, they clean up the damaged area of cartilage and put the new cartilage in. Since I had an issue with my kneecap dislocating, I need the MPFL knee surgery. The MPFL ligament is the ligament that is attached to the inside part of the patella (kneecap) to the femur. During the surgery, the ligament is removed and a donor ligament is put in to stabilize the patella.
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My Knee Surgery Journey
I had my first surgery in October of 2018. When the surgeon went in, he saw the damage to the cartilage, cleaned up the underside of my kneecap (it was rough and he didn’t want to leave those rough edges), and took the biopsy to send off to the lab. It took MONTHS for the insurance to approve the surgery. Thankfully my surgeons office has a great person that works with the insurance company to get this procedure approved. Finally, in April of 2019, I had part two. Going into that second surgery, I was reminded that it was a hard recovery. It would be a long time before I am out of the brace and walking without crutches. In fact, the total recovery time, before they consider you to be completely healed, is at least 18 months. It takes that long for the new cartilage to harden and set.
Two Year MPFL Knee Surgery Update
As I approach the two year mark, I am often asked, “was it worth it?” and “would you do it again?”. My answer is simple. Yes. It was 100% worth it and while, at the time, while I was recovering, there were many tears and lots of pain, I would go through it again. Definitely. The MPFL knee surgery made it so my knee is completely stable. It’s hard to explain, unless you experience instability, but I still catch myself, two years later, surprised when I am walking because I trust my knee. I’m not afraid of falling at all! The same for the MACI procedure. If my surgeon told me I needed it for my left knee, I would get it done. I feel that much better.
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Do You Have Any Pain Still?
I’m going to be completely honest and say, yes…occasionally I still have pain in the knee I had surgery in. HOWEVER, we (my surgeon and I) are pretty sure the pain is attributed to scar tissue I am dealing with and during the MPFL knee surgery, when the new ligament was put in, the surgeon had to secure it with a knot so it would hold in place until it healed. A common thing that happens is that scar tissue forms around the knot and it can pull on the knot, causing pain. The good news is, I can, if I choose, make an appointment and in the office, he can quickly remove that knot. So far it’s only bothered me twice. I figure if it bothers me again before my follow up appointment in May, I will bite the bullet and have him remove it.
If you have any questions, please reach out to me either in a comment (I read every comment) or send me an email! I am happy to share my experience and what I have learned during this journey. There are many other posts that I wrote on this topic, that you may want to check out.
I came across this blog while searching MPFL reconstruction surgery as I am recovering from my 3rd dislocation. I was wondering if it was worth it and I think I found my answer. I know it’s a long road to recovery, but I can’t go through another dislocation! Thank you for writing this and being honest.
Leah Kanaan says
I can’t say whether it will be worth it for you, but for me, it was 100% worth it! I have no hesitation with that knee or fear that it is going to dislocate on me. Good luck. Let me know what you decide to do.