Partial Knee Replacement

Partial Knee Replacement, Rockville, Maryland

In patients with only limited knee arthritis, surgeons may elect to perform a unicompartmental (partial) knee replacement. Unlike total knee replacement involving removal of all the knee joint surfaces, a partial knee replacement replaces only one side of the knee joint, preserving the undamaged cartilage.

Knee osteoarthritis usually occurs first in the medial (inside) compartment as this side of the knee bears most of the weight. In knees that are otherwise healthy, this approach allows the outer compartment and all ligaments to remain intact. By retaining all of the undamaged parts, the joint may bend better and function more naturally.

This conservative procedure makes the technique less invasive than traditional knee replacement surgery. This technique requires a smaller incision (3 to 4 inches), less bone removal with minimal trauma to surrounding soft tissue, which can allow you to recover more quickly and with less pain.

The implant can also help prolong or avoid the need for future total knee replacement. However, if you should need total knee replacement in the future, partial knee replacement allows your surgeon the ability to perform the procedure with a less invasive approach.

Partial Knee Replacement, Rockville, Maryland

Benefits of Partial Knee Replacement

Partial knee replacement is one option available to you and your surgeon. Only your orthopedic surgeon can determine if you are a candidate for this implant or if another type of implant would better suit your unique situation.

  • Eliminate or reduce pain
  • Less scar tissue
  • Less removal of tissue and bone
  • Quicker mobility
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Smaller incision
  • More like normal knee
  • Shorter recovery period
  • Improve quality of life
    • Return to normal activity
    • Low-impact sports and activities

Partial knee replacement is one option available to you and your surgeon. Only your orthopedic surgeon can determine if you are a candidate for this implant or if another type of implant would better suit your unique situation.

Complications

While uncommon, complications can occur during and after surgery. Some complications include infection, blood clots, implant breakage, malalignment, and premature wear. Although implant surgery is extremely successful in most cases, some patients still experience stiffness and pain. No implant will last forever and factors such as the patient’s post-surgical activities and weight can affect longevity. Be sure to discuss these and other risks with your surgeon.

Preparing for Surgery

Patients should begin preoperative strengthening exercises to help them prepare for surgery and their recovery. Patients may be given a comprehensive nutrition plan to help ensure optimum health before surgery.

There are many things that your surgeon may do to minimize the potential for complications. Your surgeon may have you see a medical physician before surgery to obtain tests. You may also need to have your dental work up to date and may be shown how to prepare your home to avoid falls.

After Surgery

After surgery, most patients walk on their surgical leg the same day and can be discharged within 24 - 48 hours. It is important to start moving your new knee as soon as possible after surgery to promote blood flow, to regain knee motion, and to facilitate the recovery process.

Before you leave the hospital, your therapist will show you a variety of exercises designed to help you regain mobility and strength in your knee. You should be able to perform these exercises on your own at home. You will be shown how to safely climb and descend stairs, how to get into and out of a seated position, and how to care for your knee once you return home.

At home, it is important to continue with your exercises as your physician has instructed. It is a good idea to enlist the help of friends or family to help you once you do return home.

Recovery

Recovery after partial knee replacement takes approximately half as long as traditional total knee replacement. Every person’s recovery time will vary, but most people should be able to drive after 2 weeks, garden after 3 to 4 weeks, and golf about 6 to 8 weeks after surgery. Your surgeon will tell you when you can return to these activities and will also tell you which activities to avoid.

You will typically not be allowed to participate in high-impact activities or contact sports. These types of activities place extreme pressure on the knee joint, which could lead to complications.

All patient education materials are provided by OrthoPatientEd.com and have been reviewed by our Advisory Board of leading Orthopedic Surgeons to ensure accuracy. All materials are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from your orthopedic surgeon. Any medical decisions should be made after consulting a qualified physician. This site includes links to other web sites. OrthoPatientEd.com takes no responsibility for the content or information contained in the linked sites.