Partial Knee Replacement
Knee pain can make ordinary tasks including walking very difficult. A common cause of knee pain is arthritis, which may be treated with a partial knee replacement surgery. Residents of the Cincinnati area trust the joint replacement specialists at Beacon Orthopaedics to alleviate their pain and restore mobility.
What is a Partial Knee Replacement?
During a partial knee replacement, the damaged portions of a knee joint are removed and replaced with prosthetic parts (made of plastic or metal). This procedure is minimally invasive and is ideal for patients whose osteoarthritis is limited to a single area of the knee.
Partial Knee Replacement vs Total Knee Replacement
A knee replacement (knee arthroplasty) is most commonly performed to replace a knee joint that has been damaged by osteoarthritis. While some patients suffer widespread knee joint damage from osteoarthritis and require a total knee replacement, in other patients the damage is limited to a single area of the knee:
- Medial Compartment: The inside part of the knee
- Lateral Compartment: The outside part of the knee
- Patellofemoral Compartment: The front part of the knee
For these patients, a partial knee replacement, or unicompartmental knee replacement, can eliminate damage with a less invasive procedure.1
Benefits of a Partial Knee Replacement
For patients who are candidates this procedure, the benefits of partial knee replacement compared to a total knee replacement include:
- Smaller incisions
- Shorter recovery
- Preservation of healthy bone and ligaments
- Less tissue trauma
- Less postoperative pain
- Improved range of motion
Preparing for Partial Knee Replacement
The first step in preparing for partial knee arthroplasty is a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon. During this appointment, your knee will be examined and the surgeon will gather a medical history. You will have the opportunity to discuss your knee pain, and together you will decide whether a partial knee replacement is the right solution for you.
Prior to the procedure, you may be asked to stop taking certain medications including blood thinners. You should also stop smoking. Your Beacon Orthopaedics team will give you detailed instructions on how best to prepare from and recover from partial knee replacement.
The Partial Knee Replacement Procedure
At Beacon Orthopaedics, partial knee replacement is typically an outpatient procedure. Once the surgeon makes an incision at the front of the knee, the joint and three compartments will be inspected to identify all damaged areas. If only limited compartments are affected, the surgeon will continue with a partial knee replacement. If damage is more generalized, a total knee replacement may need to be performed.
The next step in a partial knee replacement is to remove damaged cartilage and prepare the bone for the prosthesis. Next, the replacement knee portion is inserted and held in place with cement. A spacer will be inserted between metal parts to ensure smooth movement, then the incision is closed.
Recovery and Rehabilitation After Partial Knee Replacement
Following partial knee replacement, it is normal to experience some mild discomfort for a few weeks. It is important that patients get moving as soon as possible after compartmental knee replacement, ideally within the first 24 hours. Most of our patients are able to walk with assistance on the day of their procedure.
Once patients are home after a partial knee replacement, they should rest, elevate, and ice the leg. Working with a physical therapist will help to build strength and mobility in the replaced joint.2
Frequently Asked Questions About Partial Knee Replacement
How long does a partial knee replacement last?
The survival rate of a partial knee replacement is comparable to that for a full knee replacement. Most knee replacements last 20 years or more, with recent research finding that 90% of patients’ knee replacements are still functioning after the second decade.3
What is normal recovery time for a partial knee replacement?
Total recovery time after partial knee replacement is much shorter than after a full knee replacement. Most patients are able to get back to normal activities within six to eight weeks, which research shows is up to three times faster than recovery after full knee arthroplasty.4
Contact Beacon Orthopaedics
If you suffer from the painful effects of osteoarthritis of the knee, the orthopedic surgeons at Beacon Othopaedics have a solution for you. To learn more about partial knee replacement, please contact us to schedule a consultation.
1 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Unicompartmental (Partial) Knee Replacement. Available: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/treatment/unicompartmental-knee-replacement/. Accessed February 2, 2022.
2 Cleveland Clinic. Partial Knee Replacement. Available: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/14599–partial-knee-replacement. Accessed February 2, 2022.
3 Bayliss LE, Culliford D, Monk AP, et al. The effect of patient age at intervention on risk of implant revision after total replacement of the hip or knee: a population-based cohort study. Lancet. 2017;389(10077):1424–1430. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30059-4. Available: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)30059-4/fulltext. Accessed March 14, 2022.
4 Price AJ, Webb J, Topf H, Dodd CA, Goodfellow JW, Murray DW; Oxford Hip and Knee Group. Rapid recovery after oxford unicompartmental arthroplasty through a short incision. J Arthroplasty. 2001 Dec;16(8):970-6. doi: 10.1054/arth.2001.25552. PMID: 11740750. Available: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11740750/. Accessed March 14, 2022.