Partial Knee Replacement
Unicompartmental Knee Replacement
Partial knee replacement is a procedure where only a portion of the knee is resurfaced with metal and plastic components.
During knee replacement surgery, damaged bone and cartilage is resurfaced with metal and plastic components. In unicompartmental knee replacement (also called “partial” knee replacement) only a portion of the knee is resurfaced. This procedure is an alternative to total knee replacement for patients whose disease is limited to just one area of the knee.
Because a partial knee replacement is done through a smaller incision, patients usually spend less time in the hospital and return to normal activities sooner than total knee replacement patients.
There are a range of treatments for knee osteoarthritis and
Dr Al-Khateeb will discuss with you the options that will best relieve your individual osteoarthritis symptoms.
In knee osteoarthritis, the cartilage protecting the bones of the knee slowly wears away. This can occur throughout the knee joint or just in a single area of the knee.
Your knee is divided into three major compartments:
• Medial compartment (the inside part of the knee)
• Lateral compartment (the outside part)
• Patellofemoral compartment (the front of the knee between the kneecap and thighbone)
Advanced osteoarthritis that is limited to a single compartment may be treated with a unicompartmental knee replacement. During this procedure, the damaged compartment is replaced with metal and plastic. The healthy cartilage and bone, as well as all of the ligaments, are preserved.
Multiple studies show that most patients who are appropriate candidates for the procedure have good results with a ‘partial’ knee replacement / unicompartmental knee replacement.
The advantages of partial knee replacement over total knee replacement include:
- quicker recovery
- less pain after surgery
- less blood loss
- feels more natural
- bend is better with unicompartmental knee replacement
Many patients report that a unicompartmental knee replacement feels more natural than a total knee replacement because the bone, cartilage, and ligaments in the healthy parts of the knee are kept.
The disadvantages of partial knee replacement compared with total knee replacement include:
- Slightly less predictable pain relief
- May need further surgery
A total knee replacement may be necessary in the future if arthritis develops in the parts of the knee that have not been replaced.
In a partial knee replacement vs a total knee replacement, healthy parts of the knee are preserved, which helps to maintain a more ‘natural’ function of the knee
Preparing for Surgery
You will likely be admitted to the hospital on the day of surgery.
Before your procedure, a doctor from the anesthesia department will discuss anesthesia choices with you. You should also have discussed anesthesia choices with Dr Al-Khateeb during your preoperative clinic visits.
Anesthesia options include:
- General anesthesia – you are put to sleep
- Spinal anesthesia – you are awake but your body is numb from the waist down
He will also see you before surgery and sign your knee to verify the surgical site.
If your osteoarthritis has advanced and nonsurgical treatment options are no longer relieving your symptoms, Dr Al-Khateeb may recommend knee replacement surgery.
In order to be a candidate for unicompartmental knee replacement, your arthritis must be limited to one compartment of your knee.
With the proper patient selection, modern unicompartmental knee replacements have demonstrated excellent medium and long-term results in both younger and older patients.
Partial knee replacement is quite invasive, so recovery time is needed post-surgery.
At home, you should have someone look after you, at least for the first day.
Try to keep your leg elevated and put ice on it for a day or two to reduce swelling and pain. You’ll also need to change your dressing.
Dr Al-Khateeb will tell you when to do these things and for how long. You will probably need to see him for a follow-up appointment a few days after the procedure.
Dr Al-Khateeb will give you an exercise plan to follow at home to help your knee recover or he will recommend a physiotherapist for you to see until you’re able to use your knee normally.
The exercises are necessary to help restore your full range of motion and to strengthen your muscles. With the proper care, your outlook after having this procedure is excellent.