Lateral Patellar Facetectomy for patellar osteoarthritis

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My right knee went pop in a dance class in 2015 and after I couldn't walk without feeling like it was going to give way and found using the stairs and driving very uncomfortable.

It didn't heal by itself after a few months rest so I initially had some physiotherapy which after 6 sessions there was no sign of any improvement. After discussion with my medical insurance, I went to my GP for a consultant referral with Professor Wilson. I had done some research for consultants in my area and Professor Wilson came up with good reviews.

I didn't have any expectations prior to my first appointment, but I knew that I had osteoarthritis in both knees and I assumed that was what he would tell me and there was nothing further he could do. However at my first appointment instantly he was proactive in getting steps in place to understand what the issue was with x-rays and an MRI scan. The x-rays and MRI scans revealed deterioration on the outer side of both knees down to the kneecap being misaligned, Professor Wilson believed I was just born like that.

Over a period of 6-8 months, he arranged some nonsurgical treatments to see if I would have any success with them which included further physiotherapy a Gait Analysis and two types of injections. When these didn't work we discussed surgery - a lateral facetectomy.

Lateral Facetectomy of Patella

Professor Wilson performed a Lateral Facetectomy on my right knee in September 2016, the operation went smoothly and it took about 10-12 weeks before all the swelling completely went away. I am pleased with the result as prior to the operation my knee was so unstable that it often felt it was going to give way at any time and driving and climbing stairs were painful. After the operation and a period of physiotherapy that instability completely went away and I was able to return to exercise.

There were moments during the nonsurgical treatments I was disappointed because they were not working and for the first 6 weeks after my surgery, I wasn't sure it had worked but I had not had an operation on my knee before so I had nothing to compare it to. However, after about 12 weeks when the swelling really felt like it had gone I was really pleased as I no longer felt I was going to fall over and I could drive without pain and I could get back to the gym.

I still have pain using the stairs and I haven't been able to return to my dance class but after about a year post surgery my left knee started to play up and I had to manually bend or straighten it sometimes and that was painful. I asked to be referred back to Professor Wilson earlier this year, again we tried the nonsurgical route first, physiotherapy and an injection but again they didn't work so we are now in the process of arranging a lateral facetectomy on the left knee.

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 through and address any of my concerns. 
I am seeing him again for the same surgery on the left knee.

I would definitely recommend Professor Wilson to others as he really knows knees. If he recommends a nonsurgical route to start, I would follow that as its nice to know that all possible routes have been explored before surgery. I know when you are in pain this can be frustrating because pain is so exhausting and restrictive, but if you are unhappy talk to Professor Wilson he wants you to be well and he is willing to listen and also happy to explain his rationale. Post operation do your physio exercises as it really helps with your recovery - you have to participate in your own recovery.

I would also recommend a lateral facetectomy if you have the same problem I had, but be patient with your recovery. My experience - the first 12 weeks my knee swelled and got grisly. It was really important to do the physio exercises for strength and stability - I really noticed it when I didn't do it but on the flip side I had to make sure I didn't overdo it because when I did (unintentionally) my knee was very sore. I was ok to drive after 4 weeks for short distances and then about 6 weeks for longer journeys.

Adrian Wilson

Adrian Wilson


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