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