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  #21  
Old 30.05.2008, 15:56
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

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I had/have a 20 year old skiing related problem with my lower back and it blew up after Xmas. I went into see a neurosurgeon on day 7, had an MRI on day 8 and was operated on on day 12. In Vancouver, your appointment would be on day 32, your MRI on day 56, your next doctor's appointment on day 107, and your surgery (after being bumped 3 times) on day 156.
If, and I can't stress that enough, you were lucky. I've heard of people having to wait up to 16 months to get something like knee surgery.

On the downside my girlfriend just informed me that because I had this accident prior to coming to Switzerland and being insured here, only the BASIC coverage is in effect on anything to do with my right knee. Apparently this means that I will have to fork over CHF 2,500—can anyone confirm this? That just shot my mood from mid-highs to low-lows : (
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Old 30.05.2008, 16:01
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

I should add though that it was the INITIAL injury that happened before I moved to Switzerland, that was Jan 2006, however the most recently painful re-injury I guess you would call it happened sometime in March and I have been insured since March 1st.
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Old 30.05.2008, 16:01
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

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If, and I can't stress that enough, you were lucky. I've heard of people having to wait up to 16 months to get something like knee surgery.
In Canada yes, in Switzerland, no way. I waited something like three weeks between initial consultation and surgery.

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On the downside my girlfriend just informed me that because I had this accident prior to coming to Switzerland and being insured here, only the BASIC coverage is in effect on anything to do with my right knee. Apparently this means that I will have to fork over CHF 2,500—can anyone confirm this? That just shot my mood from mid-highs to low-lows : (
Yup. You'll have to fork over the amount equivalent to your franchise before your insurance takes over. On the plus side, they're normally a bit slow with the bills and you usually have a month to pay them anyway, so you can spread out the cost over a few months. Trust me, your knee is worth it.

Heather

Last edited by HeatherM; 30.05.2008 at 19:24.
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Old 30.05.2008, 16:07
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

You guys are great. I honestly was not expecting a response like this. I was hoping for one or two by next week!

I have another question for you guys:

How long did each of you take to recover to the point of being able to walk sans-crutches? What about to being able to do sports again?
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Old 30.05.2008, 16:17
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

You have officially entered the realm of "ask a doctor not some moron on a chat board".

Heather is right, no way you wait that long in this country. My second (unscheduled) surgery was 4 days after seeing the doctor. I told a doctor friend in Vancouver and he almost fell over.

BTW, the little button marked "thanks" is always a useful way to say "thanks"...
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Old 30.05.2008, 16:24
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

Yep, I suppose I have. I think I've pretty much milked this for all it's worth ; )

Thanks again everyone. I went nuts on the thanks button once it was pointed out.
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Old 30.05.2008, 16:32
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

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You guys are great. I honestly was not expecting a response like this. I was hoping for one or two by next week!

I have another question for you guys:

How long did each of you take to recover to the point of being able to walk sans-crutches? What about to being able to do sports again?
I had to have crutches for 4 weeks, was not allowed to drive for 6 weeks, when i went back for my 6 week check up they asked me why i was walking funny, and i told them i was still in pain, they then said are you in physio, i told them no, then they asked why not, and i said because the doctor told me not to go, and they said you have to go right now. So i had to have months of pyhsio (i still work on it now) because my muscle had wasted away, if you go to physio straight after your operation the process of recovery will be alot faster
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  #28  
Old 30.05.2008, 16:47
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

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You guys are great. I honestly was not expecting a response like this. I was hoping for one or two by next week!

I have another question for you guys:

How long did each of you take to recover to the point of being able to walk sans-crutches? What about to being able to do sports again?
I was laid up for a week, crutches for 3 weeks with my knee in a brace, knee brace for 3 months, knee support for another 6 weeks and now nearly 6 months on I am walking (nearly) normally, although can't fully straighten the knee, and have been told I can start sport again (although I have to take it steady).

I gather from what you've said though that an op looks pretty necessary in your case and as I haven't had to go down that route yet (and I hope I don't have to) I can't comment on recovery period for that.

Last edited by mimi1981; 30.05.2008 at 16:49. Reason: spelling like a two year old
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  #29  
Old 30.05.2008, 17:51
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

I can't help with the insurance part, but I tore my ACL almost 18 years ago playing high school soccer in the states. It left me with a nine inch scar down the front of my leg. Now a days they do them arthroscopicly. My knee feels stronger than the "normal" one. With perseverance you should be able to get back to slopes ski slopes in no time.

I used crutches for about 2 weeks, brace for about a month or so. I had my surgery in December and was back playing soccer in September. I was fitted with a special brace before returning back sports.

Make sure you ask lots of questions. Especially about physical therapy and what type of exercises you can do on your own at home.

Good luck!
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  #30  
Old 30.05.2008, 18:27
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

I am trying to remember, but think I was on crutches about a month at most (maybe less); gradually went from two to one crutch and also had a brace for some period. The physio and doctor were pretty aggressive and getting me up and running, there reasoning was the harder you pushed in physio, the quicker you get back to normal. Of course, some natural healing has to take place and I think you aren't really suppose to go full bore until a year after surgery, the first ski season after I stuck to easy red and blue slopes.

I found the following discussion board a pretty good place to get support and information. though sometimes as most boards can get you down (or worrying) because always the people with the most problems tend to post the most.


http://factotem.org/cgi-bin/kneebbs.pl
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  #31  
Old 31.05.2008, 20:15
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

I work in orthopaedic surgery in Bern (Hirslanden Clinic) and could recommend you some really good Surgeons if you do want to go ahead and have surgery. ACL tear and Miniscus problems are one of our most common operations. The Clinic where I work get some people who pay for themselves too.
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  #32  
Old 31.05.2008, 20:49
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

One thing you might consider too. Next year, when you get your insurance again, see if you can lower the franchise cost. High franchise cost is great if you never see the doctor, but you're probably going to have some follow up. Suppose you have surgery over the summer, and then you'll need some PT, then you'll have follow up, and it could be ongoing for a while ...and just in case you have more problems (and I really hope you won't), then you won't have to fork over another 2500 chf, but rather just a few hundred chf.

My experience with health care here has been that it is very good, although I've not had knee issues. I am about to check out some PT for some other issues though. Many doctors speak English, they are up on literature, and certainly given all the sking and outdoor activity here, you're going to find more expertise in the area. The best surgeons are the ones who do a lot of cases - they have better outcomes, and are more efficient.

But good luck! I hope it all goes well.

e.
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  #33  
Old 31.05.2008, 20:51
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

I had my two surgeries at a Hirslanden here in Zurich, two thumbs up.

Klinik im Park physio that I mentioned belongs to them.
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  #34  
Old 01.06.2008, 11:57
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

Hi..

3 years ago I ripped my knee apart in bicycle accident here in Switzerland. I tore the miniscus and ripped the acl... so it sounds very similar to your story.

I had physio for a couple of months but in the end the orthos at Bruderholz in Basel said that I should have surgery.. if I didn't there would be real complications later on due to 'wear and tear' as the knee just wasn't stable.. and they said any similar, subsequent accident could leave me in real trouble. (i.e. never walk properly and unable to do any sports)

Luckily for me there was no cost involved as it was covered by SUVA. I had the surgery (hey, 3 days on morphine !) and had to really struggle for 3 months in recovery (your leg is paralysed for a few weeks afterwards, which is really scarey)...

But today the knee is totally solid.. i can jog and there's no pain (except when it gets really cold, then I sound like a war veteran). The surgery worked for me..and, aside from the money issue, I'd think you'd be better off getting yours fixed as well.
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  #35  
Old 02.06.2008, 20:58
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

I think you are misunderstanding the difference between basic & private insurance in Switzerland. Hospitals that take basic insurance are not going to give you the "cheapest" option. For example I go to the Balgrist Uiklink in Zurich, it is a world class orthapaedic hospital where until recently one of the world's top hip surgeons worked. The difference is you will share a room with another patient instead of having a room to yourself, the care will be the same.

The private hospitals such as those in the Hirslanden group do only take those with private insurance AFAIK or you have to pay the room charges yourself. Maybe someone else can confirm this.

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See the thing I'm wondering about with basic insurance is for example would I be able to have arthroscopic surgery. That's what I meant by the insurance company going with the "cheapest" technology. Basically I don't want to get worse treatment here than I would in Canada just because I only have basic. I'm hoping though that the basic here is as good if not better than what I would get in Vancouver.

It does make sense though that the surgeons here would be good with these injuries since they probably see a huge number of them.
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  #36  
Old 02.06.2008, 21:10
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

It's also worth asking if you have a lifetime warranty on the repair work - I did a wonderful job back in 2001 with a spiral fracture of the tibia and popped the fibula whilst I was at it. Yes, snowboarding. Another statistic...!

P1 coverage on the accident insurance was nice - but at the end, when the plate was taken out, the doc signed me off with the "if you ever have problems with it, come back with this case number" line.

Fix it now rather than later. Your quality of life will be considerably better. And also, when you have physio, ask them for the best exercises for you as you want to continue boarding.
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Old 02.06.2008, 22:13
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

Hi there, i'm a nurse in interlaken, where we have a lot of knee injuries (skifields nearby). The only real difference in your insurance is being "allgemein" insured, is that your in a room with a couple of other patients rather than in a private room. The private patients also get to see the Chefarzt everyday. but your treatment is exactly the same, you will be treated the same, you get the same nurses and even the same food.

i've never seen a patient been treated differently. i would recommend the surgery as i've seen a lot of patients who could use their knee better afterwards, gone snowboarding again and have a better quality of life.
Good luck with everything
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  #38  
Old 29.09.2008, 11:30
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

So I thought I would post a follow up for the benefit of anyone else who may find themselves in my situation.

One week ago (September 22nd) I had arthroscopic meniscus "repair" surgery. It went great as far as I can tell at this point. I went in to the hospital early in the morning and left that evening, without the need for crutches! My surgeon was Dr. Lehmann (ortholehmann@bluewin.ch). He's located on Monbijoustrasse in Bern.

I opted to start (and hopefully finish) with just a meniscal repair because in my particular case all my pain and discomfort resulted from my messed up meniscus. I was able to run and even snowboard without the ACL, but not without discomfort or pain. I'll be able to ride this winter so we'll see if I can get away without reconstructing the ACL, which is a much more—involved surgery.

For anyone interested you can see some photos from the whole surgery process (yes I took my camera into the OR)

http://flickr.com/photos/bernk/sets/72157607433640074/

Thanks again for the encouragement and information.
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Old 29.09.2008, 12:02
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

Hello.

If you are having arthroscopic surgery for a meniscal tear only then your looking at about a month on crutches. for the ACL stuff I cannot comment on.

Amidst all the terror stories you will hear about knee surgery on the internet remember that people tend to write on message boards when things go wrong, not right. if they go right then they dont tend to post about it because they are happy.

I have had a large amount of surgery done on one of my knees (5+ operations) over the course of about 12 years and during that time I have been told by various people that i should settle down just swimming, cycling etc. However by continued excercise to get your quad muscles as solid as they have ever been I am able to board, run, play light soccer, even a mini triathlon - without a reaction

The key for me is strength. The message of "dont do anything heavy on it as you could just make it worse" doesnt work for me. if you leave the leg the muscles get weaker and its the muscle that prevents the injuries. Get your knee strong.

For surgeons out here, ensure you see a knee specialist, not a general ortho surgeon.
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  #40  
Old 29.09.2008, 12:16
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

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Hello.

If you are having arthroscopic surgery for a meniscal tear only then your looking at about a month on crutches. for the ACL stuff I cannot comment on.
Hi Mike,

I guess you didn't read my last post ...I already had the surgery, last Monday.
Crutches for a month is more like an ACL reconstruction, with about 6 months of recovery. I was on crutches for 0 days, although I brought some with me to the hospital. Today is exactly one week after my surgery and I can walk and bike no problem.
I completely agree with you. Getting your legs strong is key, I've already started.
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