Partial Knee Replacement
A partial knee replacement is a surgical treatment option that replaces (or resurfaces) only the damaged portion of the knee while conserving knee ligaments and unaffected cartilage. This type of replacement is appropriate for patients who still have healthy tissue and bone in their knee.
Patients with arthritis that are confined to a single compartment of the knee are also candidates. The surgery is not appropriate for patients with marked stiffened in the knee or those with a significant angular deformity.
In this past, a partial knee replacement was considered only in older patients who were sedentary. Now, a partial knee replacement is often preferred in the younger, more active population as their recovery is quicker and often with much less pain.
After a thorough evaluation, including an X-ray of the knee, your orthopaedic surgeon will discuss whether partial knee replacement is the best method to relieve your pain and improve your function.
A partial knee replacement operation typically lasts between 1 to 2 hours. Your orthopaedic surgeon will make a small incision to gain access to the affected compartment of the knee. Supporting structures of the knee are gently moved out of the way in order to remove damaged cartilage and bone tissue from the surfaces of the tibia and the femur in the arthritic area. Your surgeon then prepares these surfaces for insertion of the prosthesis components which are specifically sized to the patient’s joint. The components are secured, and all surrounding structures and tissues are restored to their anatomic position before the incision is closed.
Because partial knee replacements are most often done with smaller incisions, the recovery time is significantly less than a total knee replacement. Medications are often prescribed for short-term pain relief as necessary. Your knee function should return rapidly and with less pain than what is experienced with a total knee replacement. You will work with a physical therapist to mobilize the knee while in the hospital and for two to four weeks after discharge. You should expect to be back to full activity in about 6 to 8 weeks.
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