Achilles tendon surgery is one of the most common options if you have a ruptured Achilles tendon. There’s controversy over whether surgery is the best option. Some studies show that using a cast without surgery gets some people up and around faster, while other studies show that re-rupturing is more common without surgery. Since Achilles tendon ruptures can show up in everyone from young professional athletes to elderly sedentary people, the decision can depend on a lot of factors.
I decided, along with my doctor, that surgery was the right choice. I have some experience with surgery, so I know that preparation is an important part of success. You’ll want your surgeon to be well prepared, of course, but your preparation makes a difference, too.
One of the issues I had with my knee replacement surgery a few years ago was that after two days in the hospital, I was released, and jumped in the back seat of the car and my wife drove me home. That was a two-day trip. Twelve days later, we drove back to Mayo — a two-day drive — for the stitch replacement. That took one day. We headed home again (2 more days).
Just to recap:
- 2 days in the hospital
- 2 day drive
- 12 days at home
- 2 day drive
- 1 day in the hospital
- 2 day drive
I was determined not to repeat that, but Mayo wanted me back at 3 to 4 week intervals. Plus, my house was not set up for someone with limited mobility. I was expecting three months of not putting any weight on the right leg. To add to that, my wife was recovering from her own accident and unable to assist very much.
So, this time I rented a house near the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, from Serenity Network. Serenity Network is a charity that has several properties in Rochester to rent to people who need extended stays in the area. I also set up with Rochester Home Instead Senior Care to have aides come to help me with tasks that I would be unable to do myself. I was unsure what my capabilities would be, and I figured that overkill beat underkill at this point. I could scale back as needed.
On the day of the surgery, I actually walked to the hospital, as I was staying about a block away. I figured it was my last chance to walk for three months, and I might as well take advantage of it. The surgery was actually done in a surgical suite in the Gonda building, and then I was moved over to St Mary’s Hospital for recovery (that would be across the street, except for the wonderful array of skyways and tunnels in the Mayo Complex).
About the surgery itself I can tell you very little, as I was under general anesthesia and woke to no pain due to the nerve block used. When I did wake, my leg from the knee down was bandaged and wrapped up. The day of the surgery, I didn’t move much at all, although I did start working again from the hospital bed as soon as I could add 2+2 and get an integer between 3 and 5.
One thing I can tell you is that my post surgical pain level was extremely low. Dr Turner and his team were very delicate in handling the tissues, and it showed in my pain level. I was sent home with a bottle of prescription pain killers, and never cracked open the bottle. Tylenol was good enough. This was a testament to the level of care in surgery.