I am 58 and about 3 years ago suddenly developed an odd sensation behind my left knee, following a 4 mile walk. I went to see an orthopedic doc right away. He diagnosed it as a Baker cyst and ordered an MRI. The MRI showed mild arthritis plus lateral and medial meniscus tears. He recommended arthroscopic surgery for the tears and felt I was a "good candidate" due to the lack of any significant arthritis. I decided to get a second opinion. The second orthopedic doc also recommended surgery. Meanwhile, I knew of 2-3 people that had arthroscopic surgery which did not go well. Either they had to have a second surgery or they continued to have problems with their knee and the pain was worse. So I was hesitant to have the surgery.
I researched orthopedic doctors in my area, looking for just the right one that had a lot of experience in this type of injury. I thought I found an excellent doctor and made an appointment. A second MRI was done (this was only a year after the first MRI) and it showed the arthritis had gotten a lot worse. This new doctor advised against arthroscopic surgery to fix the meniscus. She recommended a more conservative approach, consisting of first aspirating the cyst, injecting cortisone, followed by euflexor (later synvisc) injections. She believed that given my age and the progression of the arthritis, I should try to keep my cartilage and not mess with the knee (which she felt could aggravate the situation). So I went with this more conservative approach and had the cyst aspirated last year (March 2011). But the cyst returned a few weeks later and so did the pain. I returned to this doctor last Feb and I had another MRI. It showed grade 3-4 chondromylacia which meant the arthritis was getting even worse! Now she really doesn't want to scope my knee. She insists that the Baker's cyst is from the arthritis and not from the meniscus. She believes that doing the arthroscopic surgery to fix the meniscus will likey not make the cyst go away (and could aggravate the arthritis).
HERE'S WHAT BOTHERS ME: IF THE BAKER'S CYST IS FROM THE ARTHRITIS, WHY DID I HAVE IT WAY BACK 3 YEARS AGO, WHEN THE FIRST MRI SHOWED VERY LITTLE ARTHRITIS? HOW QUICKLY DOES ARTHRITIS PROGRESS? I'm thinking I should get yet another opinion but I am tired of all these doctors.
Has anyone had a similar experience or have any insight to share? I would greatly appreciate it.
Swank, you sound like you know an awful lot about this stuff. Really appreciate your great advice. Hope the TKR helped you and your knee is relatively back to normal. Take care and thanks, SaxView Thread