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Old 30.05.2008, 13:02
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Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

Hey everyone,

In January 2006 I had the unfortunate experience of blowing out my knee from a snowboard crash. The diagnosis was a complete tear of the ACL and a large tear in the posterior horn of the medial meniscus. I wish I could say I don't know what any of that means, but by now I know a lot about the knee and all its parts.

This injury has basically devastated me. I went from a strapping young lad of 23 to a crippled geezer of 25...what the hell?! I've had many injuries in my life, including but not limited to broken bones. This one however takes the cake for sucking the absolute most.

Over the last two years I've been doing okay without my ACL, even snowboarding the last two seasons. However, this season all it took was landing a bit off and BAM. Out again. I think I may have worsened the meniscus situation. So, now comes time to really consider the surgery. I'm pretty scared about it since it's kind of a voluntary surgery that I don't need to live or walk. I'm terrified of my knee being worse after the surgery, I know this is probably ridiculous.

So, I have two questions. Anyone out there who experienced a similar ordeal? And, how good are the orthopedic surgeons here in Switzerland? I only have basic insurance for this since it's an injury I sustained prior to being insured here. I think this means I don't get to pick a doctor or anything, and I'm guessing they are going to use the cheapest technologies possible...I'm also scared about this.

Any calming thoughts? Please...
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Old 30.05.2008, 13:16
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

First i am sorry about your knee.

I had my meniscus operated in January 2007, and it was so painful after the operation so i feel for you, i am still in physio now, i also have basic insurance, i was also half private before, and had surgery, and i can say i did not see a difference with the doctors, or surgeons so i would not be worried about that, if you are in pain with your knee then have the surgery it is not worth living with the pain i know i had to wait months before having my operation because first i had to have all sorts of tests before i could have my operation, and i was agony.

Goodluck
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Old 30.05.2008, 13:22
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

I had exactly the same injury this year skiing and I have to agree with you that out of all the injuries I've suffered over the years this is by far the most painful and the slowest healing process ever. It's put me off skiing for good and there is not a cat in hells chance I will ever put a pair of skis on again.

I chose not to go for the surgery route for now and am having on going physio which is helping extremely. If you want some recommendations I can probably offer some great physio's.

The idea of having the surgery and the possibility that it might not even help puts me off for now. Obviously it does mean there is a risk that it gets worse but I prefer to bide my time and see if it can repair. My physio is of the attitude that surgery is unnecessary a lot of the time

I know what you mean about the ageing factor....I was fairly active and sporty before but this has made me feel like an old woman not the 26 year old that I really am.

Good luck with whatver decision you make and let me know how you get on
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Old 30.05.2008, 13:22
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

Hi Bernk- Sorry to hear about the knee problems.

Not sure about the ACL side of things or the extent of you miniscus damage, I guess you need to discuss what kind of surgery is required with your Doc.
From my experiance I had to have a "meniscus" operation on 1 knee about 8 years ago (was not living in Switzerland at the time)... Before the op the pain was really uncomfortable, after the op it was instant relief and to this day I have had no further problems. I only had a small nick removed from the edge of my meniscus which was done through 3 small cuts or keyhole sugery.

I would imagine that the local Doc's are well practised in the art of knee sugery, after all they surely get lots of oppurtunity to practise with all the ski / snowboard / football that goes on around here?

Good luck
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Old 30.05.2008, 13:23
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

Ouch. ... While I can't advise on the surgery-in-Switzerland side of things, I can certainly empathise. Tibial plateau fracture - quite common for snowboarders apparently, but mine was a result of being knocked sideways by a bloody big dog. So surgery, metal plates & pins, painful rehab and 2 years later it's good and improving all the time.

But I hate to think what a state I'd be in had I not gone through with the surgery..... but that's a quality of life decision that only you can make. And at 25 you'll recover a lot better than doing in 10 years time if the situation deteriorates... right? Best of luck....
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Old 30.05.2008, 13:25
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

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So, I have two questions. Anyone out there who experienced a similar ordeal? And, how good are the orthopedic surgeons here in Switzerland? I only have basic insurance for this since it's an injury I sustained prior to being insured here. I think this means I don't get to pick a doctor or anything, and I'm guessing they are going to use the cheapest technologies possible...I'm also scared about this.
Swiss medicine doesn't do "cheap". I am pretty sure that applies to both private and public insurance. In terms of care, you will do better, on average, here than just about anywhere else in the world. Either way, let them refer you to someone, go see him or her and if you do not have a good feeling, then ask to try someone else.
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Old 30.05.2008, 13:30
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

I wish I could give you advice in this situation . . . .

I just wanted you to know that I will cross my fingers and hope that things eventually even themselves out. Really sorry about everything and good luck with the knee.
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Old 30.05.2008, 13:35
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

See my problem is that there is not a cat in hell's chance that I will hang up my board for good! I was already snowboarding the season following my injury—which was dumb, I know. Before this season I got down to business and trained my ass off, 6 days a week. I was doing awesome. The difference was like day and night. With the exception of heal-edging on choppy hard-pack my knee felt normal—to the point that I decided to start hitting smaller kickers again. All it took was one funny landing and the season was over : (
The ****tiest thing of all is that on a day to day basis I don't experience paint, usually not even discomfort. I can walk fine, kind of run although I hate running anyway so that doesn't matter. What I want is to be able to ride again...properly. I figure it MUST be possible since every 3rd pro rider has had a knee surgery.

For me self-healing is not an option because the ACL tear is complete, meaning there are two pieces not attached to each other. The meniscus tear is also likely unstable, which means it is able to move around too much to heal. To be honest it's the meniscus which gives me the most trouble. Or so I feel anyway.

Thank you all very much for the feedback and opinions, I really appreciate it.

Bern
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Old 30.05.2008, 13:38
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

Thanks Ratbert, that's what I wanted to hear : )
You guys have made me feel substantially better about this.
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Old 30.05.2008, 13:39
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

Hey,

I messed my knee up skiing a few months back and its still clicking and sore quite a bit. When to an Italian/swiss physio who didnt really know what was wrong with it nor could he speak much english. Anyone know a good english speaking Physio? or a good place to go for a specialist?

Cheers
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Old 30.05.2008, 13:41
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

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Hey everyone,

In January 2006 I had the unfortunate experience of blowing out my knee from a snowboard crash. The diagnosis was a complete tear of the ACL and a large tear in the posterior horn of the medial meniscus. I wish I could say I don't know what any of that means, but by now I know a lot about the knee and all its parts.

This injury has basically devastated me. I went from a strapping young lad of 23 to a crippled geezer of 25...what the hell?! I've had many injuries in my life, including but not limited to broken bones. This one however takes the cake for sucking the absolute most.

Over the last two years I've been doing okay without my ACL, even snowboarding the last two seasons. However, this season all it took was landing a bit off and BAM. Out again. I think I may have worsened the meniscus situation. So, now comes time to really consider the surgery. I'm pretty scared about it since it's kind of a voluntary surgery that I don't need to live or walk. I'm terrified of my knee being worse after the surgery, I know this is probably ridiculous.

So, I have two questions. Anyone out there who experienced a similar ordeal? And, how good are the orthopedic surgeons here in Switzerland? I only have basic insurance for this since it's an injury I sustained prior to being insured here. I think this means I don't get to pick a doctor or anything, and I'm guessing they are going to use the cheapest technologies possible...I'm also scared about this.

Any calming thoughts? Please...
I had a complete ACL tear about three years ago from a ski accident. I had it reconstructed a few months later in Switzerland and have been heavily active in skiing etc. without any problems. The orthopedic surgeons here are very good in my opinion, they are used to this kind of thing because there are lots of ACL tears in CH due to the active lifestyle especially skiing. I think even the normal doctor in CH would due a kickass job.

On the other foot, I tore my other ACL about 19 years ago in the US playing Am. football, I never had it fixed as back then it was quite a procedure. The knee is okay for activities but it definitely has more pain than the other knee when I do a heavy day of skiing.
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Old 30.05.2008, 14:04
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

I had a skiing accident two years ago, where I tore my meniscus, my ACL, PCL and tibial collateral ligament !!! I had it operated on here arthroscopically and the surgeon was excellent. Touch wood I've had no further problems with my knee, and I'm back skiing. I ordered a sports knee brace from the U.S to wear during skiing when I first started back at it, however I don't think I need that anymore. Good luck with your knee, it's not a nice injury to have, and it does take quite a bit of physio to get back to normal again.
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Old 30.05.2008, 14:12
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

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Hey,

I messed my knee up skiing a few months back and its still clicking and sore quite a bit. When to an Italian/swiss physio who didnt really know what was wrong with it nor could he speak much english. Anyone know a good english speaking Physio? or a good place to go for a specialist?

Cheers
I go here:

http://www.wellsanabasel.ch/ErmanStart.htm

They are really good and speak perfect English Ask for a guy called Herr Winter....he is fab!

Good luck!
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Old 30.05.2008, 14:12
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

Dude your avatar is freakin terrifying! Hahhaaa....
Almost as terrifying as the terrible triad which is a name given to the injury you had.

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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Old 30.05.2008, 14:15
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

Knee problems need orthopedic surgeons, not physiotherapists. Only when the doctor has finished with it do you need a good physiotherapist. Check out Klinik im Park's inhouse physio team which does a good job.

Physiotherapy and impark training
Seestrasse 315
CH-8038 Zürich
T +41 (0)44 481 49 44
F +41 (0)44 481 49 46

The other thing is, if you have a problem and are considering putting it off, IMO, it pays to get it done sooner rather than later. It seems these days that many doctors will push you to wait. This is based on experience in Canada, Switzerland and in Germany for both knees, from running and skiing.
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Old 30.05.2008, 14:16
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

I'm not sure if this is worth a try, but there's probably no harm in contacting them:
http://www.spitaldavos.ch/public/web...e?OpenFrameSet

Maybe it seems weird to contact a clinic in Davos for your knee, but a friend of ours used to be a surgeon there and I know they've seen many weird and wonderful things thanks to all the sports accidents happening in winter. He's now moved on to a different type of work (no longer active surgeon), but as far as I know they still have an excellent reputation for orthopedic surgery. They'll probably also speak English (tourists).
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Old 30.05.2008, 14:18
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

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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.
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.
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Old 30.05.2008, 14:22
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

Hi,

I've also developed knee problems (cartilage-related) since living moving to Switzerland from Canada, and had arthroscopic surgery last summer. My initial clinical experiences with a general practitioner were not great, but to be fair, I think family doctors just don't have the level of expertise to deal with these types of injuries.

I ended up taking matters into my own hands, and I phoned the orthopedic hospital in Lausanne to book myself an appointment in their knee clinic. (One advantage of the Swiss system over the Canadian one is that you do not need a referral to see a specialist.) This was a very good idea: the consultations there are all done by orthopedic surgeons specializing in knee injuries, and the guy who did the initial consultation ended up being the one who did the surgery as well. I did it all as a patient with basic insurance and it was no problem. Shared hospital rooms in Switzerland are still excellent.

It looks like the Inselspital Bern also runs an orthopedic polyclinic. Since this is in your neighbourhood, I'd recommend making an appointment there to speak with someone about your injuries and your prognosis for improvement with surgery. University hospital doctors are are quite good, and even if they recommend surgery and extensive physio, everything will be covered by your basic insurance. Also, with basic insurance you normally need to receive care within your own canton.

Surgery does have it's downsides: it can be painful, and you spend a long time afterwards unable to do ANYTHING (one can only watch so many DVDs and read so many books before becoming hopelessly bored). My muscles atrophied so much that it's taken me almost a year to recover my strength.

On the plus side, surgery might eventually enable you to do things that are not possible for you to do right now, and also allow you to do sports into old age. I also thought having surgery was kind of cool: I had spinal anaesthesia, and because I was awake I was able to watch the whole surgery on an extra monitor that was inside the operating theatre. I don't think many people can say that they've seen the inside of their own knee.

I wish you all the best in your recovery.

HeatherM

EDIT: Just make sure to check your insurance to see if there is a clause that you need a referral from a family doctor to see a specialist. Some plans (such as HMO or Telmed) might require this, but regular basic insurance doesn't.

EDIT 2: Did you claim your fall this winter under accident insurance? If you fell and blew out your knee, your accident insurance should cover all the bills anyway.

Last edited by HeatherM; 30.05.2008 at 14:31. Reason: Adding a point about insurance
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Old 30.05.2008, 14:24
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

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See my problem is that there is not a cat in hell's chance that I will hang up my board for good!
Mate get your knee fixed before worrying about stuff like that. If you mess your knee good and proper then snowboarding would be the last of your worries. See a specialist and get it fixed. Let it fully recover before doing anything silly.

Get well soon.
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Old 30.05.2008, 14:31
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Re: Knee Reconstruction Surgery in Switzerland

He is rather ferocious looking isn’t he? Wibble likes it too !!! Anyway, pretty sure I’ve just got the basic health insurance, and it was no problem to get it done arthroscopically. I got a CT scan and MRI scan of it done within a week, where they couldn’t really detect much damage. (Amazing since I’d buggered quite a few things in there!!!) It was when I went back for a review and the surgeon asked why I was limping the way I did (huummm because it’s very sore !!) that he said he would operate on it. In fact he asked me if I would like it done that afternoon !!! I settled for two days later. See what your orthopaedic doc says, then check with your insurance carrier. Once the ball starts rolling it goes pretty fast.
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