Partial Knee Replacement

What is partial knee replacement?

Partial knee replacement, also known as unicompartmental knee replacement is a surgical procedure to ease the knee pain and restore its normal functioning. Total knee replacement surgery is one of the best options for osteoarthritis patients. Hoewever, partial knee replacement is another good option for patients with osteoarthritis which is limited to just one part of the knee.

Partial Knee Replacement Surgery

The knee has three major components- the medial compartment, the lateral and the patellofemoral. In the unicompartmental knee replacement surgery, only one compartment (the damaged one) is replaced. A plastic or metal impalnt is used for partial knee replacement surgery.

Who is a Candidate for partial knee replacement surgery?

Patients with a damage, that is limited to one compartment of the knee are considered the suitable candidates for partial knee replacement surgery. If the patient has a ligament damage, significant knee stiffness or inflammatory arthritis, he/she can be a candidate for partial knee replacement surgery. The surgeon will choose the ideal candidate for partial knee replacement surgery.

How partial knee replacement surgery is done?

The surgery may take 1 or 2 hours to complete. During the surgery, the doctor will first make an incision at the front part of the knee. The doctor will then explore the three compartments to identify the cartilage damage. During this procedure, if the surgeon did not find the patient suitable for partial knee replacement surgery, he/she may need to undergo for a total knee replacement procedure. If the patient is suitable for partial knee replacement procedure, the doctor will continue with the same. The surgeon will remove the damaged cartilage from the compartment with the help of special saws. The ends of femur and tibia will cover with metal coverings. The metal coverings are attached to the bone using cement. To make the gliding surface smooth, the doctor will insert a plastic between the two metal components. When the surgery is complete, the patient will be taken to the recovery room.

What are the complications of partial knee replacement surgery?

Complications are very common in any surgery. Some of the rare risks of partial knee replacement surgery include:

  • Continued pain

  • Anesthetic risks

  • Infection

  • Nerve injuries

  • Blood clots

What about the recovery?

Partial knee replacement surgery requires less time for hospitalization and rehabilitation. The patient will be able to resume normal physical activities faster. The patient will be able to go home after 1-3 days of surgery. Strenuous physical activities are restricted for a few days after the surgery. The surgeon may suggest using a walker, crutches or cane for several days or weeks. Physical therapy may also be suggested to give exercise to the joint. It will help to maintain the motion. A complete recovery can expect after 6 weeks.

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