Partial Knee Replacement Procedure : is it right for you?

partial knee replacement procedure

The part of the main joint with the arrow pointing is the medial compartment most commonly replaced in a partial knee replacement procedure.

The knee is made up is 3 joints: the main joint between the bottom of the thigh bone and the shin, the joint behind the kneecap and the small bone that rotates alongside the shin. The main joint has 2 compartments- the medial (inside) and the lateral (outside). On many people only one of these compartments wears. It is more common in the medial and nowadays if you have degeneration in only one of the compartments you may be offered a partial knee replacement procedure rather than a total knee replacement.

Is a Partial Knee Replacement Procedure Right for You?

This is a great article on partial knee replacement procedure by Ritesh Shah, who is an Orthopaedic Surgeon at Chicago’s Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. It explains that for some people it is a great option:

For the right patient, partial knee replacement surgery is a good option and an acceptable alternative to full knee replacement as the surgical intervention to treat osteoarthritis of the knee.  The indications for patient qualification are strict, but for those who meet them, partial knee replacement offers some good benefits.

Generally speaking, partial knee replacements are performed on patients whose arthritis is restricted to one of the three compartments of the knee.  The procedure is most commonly performed on patients with arthritis on the medial — or inside — side of the knee.  There is some good published data showing positive outcomes for patients with arthritis in both the medial and patellofemoral — or front — compartments of the knee.

Are There Any Drawbacks to a Partial Knee Replacement Surgery?

This type of surgery is not for everyone.

Patients generally need to demonstrate good range of motion and minimal stiffness in the affected knee to qualify for a partial knee replacement.  Other factors, including a patient’s age, weight, activity level, and knee structure are also considered during the qualification process. 

 and it is vital that you make sure your surgeon is experienced in carrying out partial knee replacement procedure. Not all are as this article explains:

Essentially, you want to know whether the surgeon has been specially trained in how to perform partial knee replacements.  Surgical technique and implant positioning are key to successful partial knee replacements.  The most common reasons for revisions — or corrective surgery — are poorly positioned, loose or poorly fixed implants, and poorly indicated surgery. 

Outcomes for Partial Knee Replacement Procedure

These are generally good with

The orthopaedic surgeon makes a smaller incision during a partial knee replacement, reducing blood loss and surgical time and leaving a smaller scar.  Blood transfusions are generally not required after a partial knee replacement.  Generally, there is a better post-operative experience and a quicker short-term rehabilitation associated with a partial knee replacement, as well.  Studies have shown that patients who undergo a partial knee replacement also generally demonstrate a better post-operative range of motion and subjectively “feel” like their knee is more normal.

 I believe if you qualify for a partial knee replacement procedure then it is worth serious consideration. The one thing this article does not mention is there is less disruption to the soft tissue around the joint and so there is less scar tissue as well.

If you have had a partial knee replacement procedure please leave a comment below and let us know how you got on.

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2 Responses to Partial Knee Replacement Procedure : is it right for you?

  1. Scott Duncan says:

    What are the major parts of a knee? And which is the most crucial part? Please share some brief posts on this issue.

    • sophie says:

      I covered the major parts of the knee briefly in the first paragraph but if you want more detail please read the anatomy section on this page.

      As to which is the most crucial part – they all are! The knee functions as a unit and if one part of that unit fails then it affects all the other parts.

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