A partial knee replacement is an alternative to total knee replacement for some patients with osteoarthritis of the knee when the damage is confined to a particular compartment of the knee. In the past, partial knee replacement was reserved for older patients who were involved in few activities. Now, with better implants and improved surgical techniques, more patients are being considered for partial knee replacement compared with a few years ago. About 15% to 20% of patients with arthritic knees are estimated to be eligible for partial knee replacement.
What is a partial knee replacement?
In a partial knee replacement, only the damaged part of the knee cartilage is replaced with a prosthesis.
What are the advantages of partial knee replacement over total knee replacement?
Compared to total knee replacement, partial knee replacement better preserves range of motion and knee function because it preserves healthy tissue and bone in the knee. For these reasons, patients tend to be more satisfied with partial knee replacement compared with total knee replacement, and they are still candidates for total knee replacement should they ever need it in the future. There is also less blood loss during surgery, and knee motion recovers faster with partial knee replacement.
Who is a candidate for partial knee replacement?
Your doctor will ask you to identify the area of pain in your knee, then check your range of motion and the knee's stability. An X-ray of the knee, usually including a stress xray, will determine your eligibility for partial knee replacement but your surgeon may not know for certain if you are a good candidate until the surgery has begun. If your pain is located almost entirely on either the inside portion or outside portion of your knee, then you may be a candidate for a partial knee replacement. If you have pain throughout your entire knee or pain in the front of your knee (under your kneecap) you may be better qualified for a total knee replacement. To be a candidate, you must have an intact anterior cruciate ligament, a sufficient range of knee motion, limited inflammation, minimal pain at rest, damage to only one compartment, and no calcification of cartilage or knee dislocation. In order to be a candidate for this procedure, your arthritis must be limited to one compartment of your knee. Patients with inflammatory arthritis, significant knee stiffness, or ligament damage may not be ideal candidates. Your surgeon will help you determine if this procedure is suited for you. With proper patient selection, modern unicompartmental knee replacements have demonstrated excellent medium- and long-term results in both younger and older patients.
What is recovery like?
Because a partial knee replacement is done through a smaller, less invasive incision, hospitalization is shorter, and rehabilitation and return to normal activities is faster.
Patients usually experience less postoperative pain, less swelling, and have easier rehabilitation than patients undergoing total knee replacement. In most cases, patients go home 1 to 3 days after the operation.
You will begin putting weight on your knee immediately after surgery. You may need a walker, cane, or crutches for the first several days or weeks until you become comfortable enough to walk without assistance.
A physical therapist will give you exercises to help maintain your range of motion and restore your strength. You will continue to see your orthopaedic surgeon for follow-up visits in his or her clinic at regular intervals.
You will most likely resume your regular activities of daily living by 6 weeks after surgery.
What are the risks?
An infection at the surgical site is possible. Blood clots are a risk as are injuries to a blood vessel or a nerve. These complications are quite rare. You may experience some knee joint stiffness.
Late complications may include infection and a failure, loosening, or dislocation of the prosthesis as well as continued pain
What are the results of Partial knee Replacement from other Countries?
Partial knee replacement surgery for severe osteoarthritis is safer than total knee replacement, according to an Oxford University study published in the medical journal The Lancet.
People undergoing partial knee replacement surgery, in which only the parts of the knee affected by osteoarthritis are removed, have fewer complications, are less likely to be readmitted to hospital and less likely to have serious complications, the researchers found.The main benefit of the partial knee is that it provides better function.