As the knee degenerates, the smooth cartilage that lines the knee joint deteriorates. The once nearly frictionless surface provided my this cartilage is now gone. Once that cartilage is gone, there are currently no reliable methods to regenerate what has been lost.
Orthopedic surgeons like to think about the knee joint as having three compartments There is the medial compartment (inside the knee), the lateral compartment (outside the knee) and the patellofemoral compartment (in front of the knee). The most common area for degeneration is the medial compartment. Although the arthritic process typically starts in one compartment, with time it progresses to the other compartments.
What is a Partial Knee Replacement?
If a patient has degeneration in only one compartment, a partial knee replacement can be beneficial because only the one problem area is resurfaced. The implant is much smaller and only the bone and soft tissue that are unhealthy are reconstructed during the surgical procedure. Unlike conventional knee replacements, all of the ligaments are spared in a partial knee replacement. This helps the partial knee feel more like a “normal” knee.
Benefits of Partial Knee Replacement include:
- Smaller incision with less soft tissue dissection; less blood loss
- Lower probability of early complications
- Decreased time in the hospital
- Faster recovery time
- Quicker return to normal activities
- Increased range of overall motion and greater patient satisfaction with the outcome
Are You a Candidate for a Partial Knee Replacement?
Patients who are the best candidates for partial knee replacement include:
- Patients with isolated degenerative disease in one or two compartments only
- Those who still have a good range of motion prior to surgery
- Those who have minimal deformity prior to surgery
Every case is unique and the decision to have a partial versus total knee replacement surgery should be made only after a careful diagnosis and recommendation by your doctor. There are unique challenges to partial knee replacement, including a higher failure rate for partial as opposed to total, and the possibility of future arthritis in the same knee. Correctly assessing which surgery is best for a patient is critical to a successful outcome, especially after a partial knee replacement.
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As with all surgical procedures, it is imperative to choose a surgeon with a proven track record in this specialty. Feeling comfortable with your surgeon will have a positive impact on your overall experience. Contact Pro Sports Orthopedics today, and let us help you get active again.