A partial knee replacement, more formally known as a unicompartmental knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure that removes damaged tissue from one compartment of the knee joint. The goal of the surgery is to relieve pain and improve function in that particular compartment, while preserving bones and ligaments in other parts of the joint. Partial knee replacements are less invasive than total knee replacements, result in less blood loss, and have a quicker recovery time. They are also associated with better range of motion in the knee post-surgery.
Did You Know?
The knee joint contains three compartments. The medial compartment is on the inside of the knee, the lateral compartment is on the outside of the knee, and the patellofemoral compartment is in the front of the knee between the femur and the patella (knee cap).
Frequently Asked Questions:
Am I a candidate for a partial knee replacement?
Partial knee replacements are an appropriate treatment for people who have arthritis or pain in only one compartment of the knee who are no longer experiencing relief from non-surgical treatment options. Partial knee replacement can be used to provide relief from primary osteoarthritis, secondary osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, traumatic arthritis, avascular necrosis, failed prior knee surgery, arthritis secondary to ochronosis, gout, pseudogout, Paget’s disease, certain tumors of the knee, and, in some instances, infection.
However, individuals with severe knee stiffness, ligament damage, or inflammatory arthritis may not be ideal candidates. To determine if you are an ideal candidate for a partial knee replacement, schedule a consultation with Dearborn & Associates–the best knee replacement providers in the Bay Area.
Partial Knee Replacement on x-ray
Total Knee Replacement on x-ray
How are partial knee replacements performed?
At Dearborn & Associates, your partial knee replacement will be performed under general anesthesia and will usually take about 1-2 hours. Our partial knee replacement procedures are performed using a minimally-invasive technique that limits trauma to the surrounding structures and promotes faster recovery times.There are three main steps to a partial knee replacement:
- Your surgeon will make an incision in the knee
- They will remove the damaged cartilage and a small amount of bone from within the affected compartment
- They will then place a plastic bearing surface over a titanium piece that is fixed onto the top of the tibia using bone cement. Next, this process is repeated on the lower end of the femur. The bone cement hardens within 10 minutes, securing the implants in place.
What can I expect during recovery?
After your operation, you can expect to spend about an hour in the recovery room. You will then be transferred to a private room in our quarantined unit. Within a few hours, one of our physical therapists will have you up and moving as they show you post-operative exercises and techniques for everyday tasks. At this point, which is about 4-5 hours after surgery, most patients can expect to be discharged. In some cases, an overnight stay may be required.
During your recovery process, medical assistive equipment such as a cane, walker, or crutches may be needed. You may also desire a cooling unit to help with postoperative discomfort. You can expect to have a physical therapist come to your house to assist you with an exercise program to promote proper healing. Follow-up visits are also usually scheduled at the two week, six week, and three month marks.
In most cases, you should be able to walk independently as soon as 2-3 weeks after surgery. At the 6 week mark, you will be able to resume most of your regular activities. Your doctor will let you know if you have any restrictions at this point.