What is a partial knee replacement?

Partial knee replacement, or “unicompartmental knee replacement,” is a surgical procedure tailored for those with arthritis confined to one section of the knee. Unlike total knee replacement, it involves replacing only the damaged compartment of the knee, preserving the healthy parts. This targeted approach means less tissue disturbance, a smaller incision, and, typically, a much quicker recovery. It’s an ideal option for patients whose knee damage is limited, allowing them to maintain more of their knee’s natural structure and function.

doctor feeling a patient's knee

Who is a candidate for a partial knee replacement?

Ideal for younger, more active individuals, this procedure replaces a single knee compartment with arthritis, preserving the healthy areas of your knee. If arthritis is confined to one region of the knee, you may be a good candidate for this surgery. It’s important to note, though, that arthritis might develop in other knee areas later, potentially necessitating additional procedures.

To determine if partial knee replacement is suitable for you, your doctor will conduct a detailed medical history review, a physical examination, and imaging tests like X-rays and MRI scans. These steps are crucial to accurately identifying the affected knee area.

What is the partial knee replacement procedure?

Performed under general or spinal anesthesia, this procedure typically takes one to two hours. Your surgeon will make a focused incision near the damaged area, replacing the affected bone and cartilage with metal prosthetics and a plastic insert. This targeted approach limits the disturbance to your knee, resulting in less bone loss and improved post-surgical motion.

What is the recovery time after a partial knee replacement?

Recovery is generally shorter and more comfortable compared to a total knee replacement. Expect a brief hospital stay and initial use of crutches or a walker. Physical therapy plays a vital role in regaining knee strength and flexibility, with many patients fully recovering in about six weeks. This recovery allows you to return to low-impact activities and sports.

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What are the benefits of this approach?

These benefits highlight why partial knee replacement could be a preferred option for patients with localized knee damage.

  • Less invasive procedure: Partial knee replacement involves smaller incisions and less tissue disturbance compared to total knee replacement.
  • Quicker recovery time: Patients generally experience a faster recovery period, allowing a quicker return to normal activities.
  • Preservation of knee anatomy: The surgery only targets the damaged part of the knee, preserving more of the natural knee structures like ligaments and unaffected cartilage.
  • Reduced pain post-surgery: Due to the procedure’s minimally invasive nature, patients often report less pain during the recovery process.
  • Better range of motion: Partial knee replacement typically allows for a more natural range of knee movement post-surgery.
  • Shorter hospital stay: Patients usually require a shorter hospital stay after surgery, enhancing comfort and reducing healthcare costs.
  • Improved knee function: By focusing on the affected area, the surgery aims to restore function to the knee without altering the healthy parts.
  • Lower risk of complications: Smaller surgical areas and less intervention can lead to a reduced risk of complications like infections or blood clots.
  • Potential for less wear and tear: As healthy parts of the knee are preserved, there may be less wear and tear on the joint over time.
  • High patient satisfaction: Many patients report high levels of satisfaction due to the preservation of their knee’s natural feel and function.
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Why choose us for partial knee replacement?

Choosing our clinic for your partial knee replacement means entrusting your knee health to highly qualified surgeons. Our team, educated at top medical institutions, specializes in knee surgeries, employing advanced techniques for optimal results. We’re committed to a patient-first approach, ensuring your surgery and recovery are tailored to your specific needs. Our goal is to help you regain mobility and return to your active lifestyle as quickly and safely as possible.

Partial Knee Replacement FAQ

How long does the partial knee replacement last?

Partial knee replacements can last many years, but longevity varies based on activity level and overall joint health.

What are the risks?

While safe, risks include infection, blood clots, nerve or blood vessel damage, and persistent knee pain. Discussing these risks with your doctor is essential for a well-informed surgical decision.

What activities can I resume after surgery?

Most patients can return to low-impact activities within six weeks, but your surgeon will provide specific guidance based on your recovery.

How is partial knee replacement different from total knee replacement?

Partial knee replacement only addresses the damaged part of the knee, whereas total knee replacement involves replacing the entire knee joint.

Is the recovery from partial knee replacement faster than total knee replacement?

Yes, typically, the recovery is quicker and involves less discomfort due to the procedure’s less invasive nature.

What should I expect during the recovery process?

You should expect some initial pain and reliance on assistive devices, followed by physical therapy focusing on regaining strength and mobility.

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