Partial Knee Replacement

What is a partial knee replacement?

Orthopaedic surgeons think about the knee as having (3) parts; the inside or medial compartment, the outside or lateral compartment and the knee cap or patellofemoral compartment. Partial knee replacements involve replacing one of these three compartments.

Partial vs Total Knee Replacement

Partial vs Total Knee Replacement

What are the benefits of a partial knee replacement?

The benefits of a partial knee replacement include less pain, a faster recovery and a lower risk of complications after the surgery when compared to a total knee replacement. Patients who have a partial knee may also have a knee that feels more “normal” as more of their own knee is kept in place including the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments that stabilize the knee joint.

Journal Article: Total knee arthroplasty has higher postoperative morbidity than unicompartmental knee arthroplasty: a multicenter analysis »

What are the potential negatives of a partial knee replacement?

The potential negatives of a partial knee replacement include leaving behind parts of your knee joint that could be causing you pain.

Who is a candidate for a partial knee replacement?

In my practice about 1 in every 3 patients is a candidate for a partial knee replacement. In general, the best candidates for a partial knee replacement have arthritis in only one part of their knee, an intact anterior and posterior cruciate ligament and good range of motion or knee flexibility.

Arthritis in knee

Patient who is appropriate for a partial knee replacement. Arthritis is only present on the inside of the knee (circle)

How long will a partial knee replacement last?

Data from Rush suggests that 90% of our partial knees are still working well at 20 years after surgery! Hence we view partial knee replacement as an alternative to a full knee replacement and not as a “bridge” procedure.

Journal Article: Long-term survivorship and failure modes of unicompartmental knee arthroplasty »

Will I get arthritis in the other parts of my knee?

That is a common question and the answer is yes, you could develop arthritis in the other parts of your knee but it seems to be a rare occurrence. As described above, durability of our partial knees is 90% still working well at 20 years after surgery.

How long is the hospital stay for a partial knee replacement?

We do many of our partial knee replacements as an outpatient procedure at the Munster Specialty Surgery Center. If you prefer to have your surgery at Rush, it is usually an overnight stay in the hospital with most patients being able to leave the day after surgery.

Partial knee replacement surgery video

The below video illustrates a partial knee replacement surgery completed by Craig J. Della Valle, MD.

http://youtu.be/ChvsxcfQ1NM

Learn about another surgery »