Sunday, August 30, 2009

So what's a lateral release?

Browsing you-tube I found some videos of arthroscopic surgeries. Some are probably better than others, but without the commentary, I have no clue what's going on. These are not my knee. I don't know if they recorded mine or not, I guess I'll find out at my post-op appointment. I also won't know my official diagnosis based on what they saw until my post-op appointment, September 3rd.

Here's an image of the forces on the knee cap. We suspect a large part of my knee pain is due to too much tension from the iliotibial band pulling my knee cap towards the outside of my body. This causes the knee cap to come out of it's natural tracking and cause pain and inflammation from the friction. When stretching and strengthening doesn't work, lateral release is a way to help decrease some of this tension. Some docs completely cut the lateral retinaculum (on the left of image above), but that can make the knee too lose. My doc does more of a "hashing" to give it some more stretch, but not a complete release. Several years ago, surgeons did way too many lateral releases and often the patients didn't have much improvement. Fortunately, my physical therapist says that her patients who have a lateral release done by my doc have almost always had improvement. She believes a large part of it is due his "hashing" technique and that he does it through an open procedure.

The videos below show the lateral release done completely arthroscopically and a full cut, not the small cuts my doc did. Either way, it gives you a better idea of what went on.


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