Partial Knee Replacement
Total knee replacement can decrease pain and restore function in the knee for those suffering from arthritis. However, some patients may only have arthritis in one part of the knee, and may not need to have the whole joint replaced. For these patients, a partial (or “unicompartmental”) knee replacement may be an option. Not all surgeons offer Partial Knee Replacement as an option, however, Dr. Weber has extensive experience and success with the procedure.
What Is a Partial Knee Replacement?
The knee is divided up into three major parts, called compartments. These compartments include the medial compartment (the inner part), the lateral compartment (the outer part), and the patellofemoral compartment (the front of the knee, located between the kneecap and thighbone). If your arthritis is limited to only one of these compartments, you may be a candidate for a partial knee replacement.
During a partial knee replacement, only the damaged compartment is replaced with prosthetic components, while healthy, undamaged bone and cartilage are left alone. Partial knee replacements generally offer a quicker recovery time, less pain after surgery, and less blood loss compared to total knee replacements. Some patients report that a partial knee replacement feels more natural than a total knee replacement, since the healthy structures in the knee are left alone.
Who Is a Good Candidate?
Surgery may be recommended if knee pain from osteoarthritis interferes with your everyday life, and nonsurgical treatment has not relieved your pain. Your doctor will examine you to determine whether partial knee replacement is an option for you. He will test the range of motion and ligament quality in the knee to determine whether a partial knee replacement is the best option. Additionally, he may order an X-ray or MRI to pinpoint the location of the arthritis.
Patients who have inflammatory arthritis or ligament damage may not be good candidates for this procedure. Osteoarthritis must be limited to one compartment of the knee. If you feel pain throughout your entire knee, rather than in one area, partial knee replacement may not be recommended.
Procedure and Recovery
To perform the procedure, your surgeon begins by making a small incision at the front of the knee. He then views the knee to verify that the damage is limited to one compartment. The procedure itself is similar to a total knee replacement. The surgeon uses special saws to remove the damaged cartilage and bone from the femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone), then replaces the surfaces with metal components that are typically cemented into place. A plastic spacer is then inserted between the two metal components to allow the knee to move and glide easily.
A partial knee replacement is generally performed with a smaller incision and is less invasive than a total knee replacement, and therefore often results in a shorter hospital stay and recovery time. Most patients are able to go home within one day of surgery. Patients often experience less pain and swelling after surgery, and have an easier time at rehabilitation than those undergoing a total knee replacement.
Patients begin putting weight on the knee as soon as possible after surgery, although an assistive device like a walker, cane, or crutches may be necessary for the first several days or weeks. Physical therapy is an important part of recovery, as it helps to restore strength and range of motion in the knee. You may choose to work with a physical therapist, or do the exercises on your own at home. Most patients are able to resume normal activities within six weeks of surgery.
Partial Knee Replacement in Southwest Chicagoland
Integrity Orthopedics provides the highest quality of orthopedic care available. With three fellowship-trained surgeons, and X-rays and physical therapy available on-site, we can meet all of your orthopedic care needs. Dr. Weber performs a high volume of partial as well as total knee arthroplasties. Our goal is to help you return to your normal activities pain-free. If you would like to learn more about partial knee replacement or would like to schedule an appointment, please call our office at (708) 429-3455.