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Day Three – Totally Different Experience with ACL Surgery This Time!

In the post-op period after the first ACL replacement surgery in March, this was shoot-me-and-put-me-out-of-my-misery day. Not this time around. Anyone considering ACL surgery should definitely consider these things:

1. A doctor who focuses on minimizing pain – my doctor, Dr. Golden of Cedar Sinai, had ACL surgery about 10 years ago and said the pain was so bad he could barely stand it. Therefore, he made it his goal to NOT put people through such a painful method. He prefers allograft over autograft because of the reduction in pain. It makes sense – because you aren’t harvesting the graft from your own leg, so you don’t have all that healing to do as well.

2. A doctor who does minimal cutting. The last doc at UCLA did a huge slide down the knee. Dr. Golden does it all arthroscopically – five small incisions around the knee.

3. A doctor who works for a hospital that lets him decide what’s best. UCLA forces doctors to do things their way to “save money” – for example, they won’t let their surgeons use screws that eventually dissolve. They insist upon using metal so it stays in you forever. I’m not sure why they don’t offer the option of the dissolving screws if the patient wants to pay for it.

I had to use UCLA with the previous doctor because the other surgery center she used was not in my “network” for insurance. That would have been $5000 out of my pocket instead of $3000. Ugh. I would imagine the dissolving screws are not $2000 a piece, so I would have been happy to pay the $100 or whatever to have those used at UCLA.

I started the CPM machine today – I’ve done 3 hours – and I already have about 60 degrees of flexion. Last time I could not do the machine for about 5 days because of the pain, and when I started I had about 20 degrees of flexion. What a difference!

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