Partial Knee Replacement


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A partial knee replacement is an alternative to total knee replacement for some people with osteoarthritis of the knee. This surgery can be done when the damage is confined to a particular compartment of the knee. In a partial knee replacement, only the damaged part of the knee cartilage is replaced with a prosthesis. Factors such as the extent of joint damage, ligament stability, overall knee alignment, and individual patient characteristics will determine the suitability of this procedure.

Osteoarthritis is the wearing away of the connective tissue, called articular cartilage, within the joint. Articular cartilage prevents one bone from scraping against another.

The goal of partial knee replacement is to conserve as much of the healthy bone, ligaments, and cartilage as possible. This preservation can lead to better joint function and potentially faster recovery compared to total knee replacement.

Knee problems that might need replacement surgery

People with medial, or lateral, knee osteoarthritis can be considered for partial knee replacement. "Medial" refers to the inside compartment of the joint, which is the compartment nearest the opposite knee, while "lateral" refers to the outside compartment farthest from the opposite knee.

Partial Knee Replacement Surgery & Surgical Procedure

Surgical procedure

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The surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia, and here is an overview of the steps involved in the procedure:

  • Incision: The incision is typically smaller compared to the incision used in total knee replacement surgery.
  • Accessing the Knee: Once the incision is made, the surrounding muscles and tissues are moved to gain access to the affected compartment of the knee joint.
  • Removal of Damaged Tissue: The damaged cartilage & the bone are removed from the affected compartment(s) of the knee joint. Specialized instruments are used to precisely remove the diseased tissue while preserving the healthy portions of the knee.
  • Implant Placement: After the damaged tissue is removed, the surgeon prepares the bone surfaces to accommodate the partial knee implant. The implant is typically made of metal and plastic components that mimic the shape and function of the natural knee joint.
  • Cement or Cementless Fixation: Depending on the specific technique used, the implant may be fixed to the bone using bone cement or may rely on a press-fit technique for stability.
  • Closure: Once the implant is in place, the surgeon carefully closes the incision using sutures or staples. Sterile dressings are applied to the surgical site.

Post operative care

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Recovery time and rehabilitation after partial knee surgery may vary, but generally, it involves a shorter recovery period compared to total knee replacement. However, adherence to post-operative rehabilitation exercises and follow-up appointments is crucial to achieve the best possible outcome.