Partial Knee Arthroplasty

Partial knee prosthesis X-ray

Partial Knee Replacement or Unicondylar Knee Arthroplasty

Partial knee replacement is a surgical treatment option that replaces only the damaged portion of the knee while conserving knee ligaments and unaffected cartilage.

In cases where nonsurgical techniques do not provide sufficient symptom relief from arthritis, surgeons can remove damaged cartilage and bone in the diseased area only, while preserving the ligaments that help support the knee joint.

What is  unicompartmental knee arthritis ?

Arthritis of the knee may occur in any one of the three compartments that make up the knee joint. The inner or medial compartment of the knee and the outer or lateral compartment of the knee are formed by the articulation (or joining) of the lowest part of the thighbone (femur) and the highest part of the tibia. The third compartment of the knee is formed by the kneecap (patella) and the front part of the femur. This is referred to as the patellofemoral joint.

Who can benefit from partial knee replacement ?

Partial knee replacement is appropriate for patients with arthritis that is confined to a single compartment of the knee and is generally restricted to patients who are not morbidly obese. Intact ligaments are a requirement for a partial knee replacement, so selecting the right patient is considered one of the most important steps to ensuring a good functional outcome and longevity for a partial knee replacement.

What happens during partial knee replacement?

During partial knee replacement, the surgeon makes a small incision to gain access to the affected compartment of the knee. He removes damaged cartilage and bone tissue from the surfaces of the tibia and the femur in the arthritic area. The surgeon then prepares these surfaces for insertion of the prosthesis components which are specifically sized to the patient’s joint. Cement is used to secure these components. All surrounding structures and tissues are restored to their anatomic position and the incision is closed.

How do I recover from a partial knee replacement surgery ?

Following surgery, you willl spend one to two nights in the hospital. You will be able to walk with assistance on the same day as you surgery. Typically, the patient is given a cane within a week of surgery to allow for increased independence and begins outpatient rehabilitation. Partial knee replacement usually involves minimal blood loss and is associated with a low rate of complications; most patients can expect to be back to their daily activities within three to six weeks. Many patients find that after undergoing physical rehabilitation, they are able to return to sports activities within six to ten weeks.