A total knee replacement corrects damage to all three compartments in the knee joint. A partial knee replacement, on the other hand, is a surgical procedure that focuses on one of the three compartments: the medial, lateral, or patellofemoral area.
In fact, the medical term for a partial knee replacement is unicompartmental knee replacement. During the procedure, a partial knee replacement surgeon will remove injured tissue and bone within the knee joint and replace it with an artificial joint. This artificial joint is called a prosthetic implant, and it is made of medical grade plastic and metal. Artificial joints are specially designed to replace part of the total knee joint.
If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, and more conservative treatments (e.g. NSAIDs, corticosteroid injections into the knee joint) have failed to relieve your pain, you may be a candidate for partial knee replacement. Your partial knee replacement surgeon in New York City or surrounding areas will determine if most or all of your osteoarthritis is in a single knee joint compartment. Indeed, if you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in a specific knee compartment (medial, lateral, or patellofemoral osteoarthritis) it is quite likely that your partial knee replacement surgeon will further evaluate you for surgery.
Keep in mind that you may not be a candidate for partial knee replacement surgery if you have inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or arthritis related to systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus). In general, your partial knee replacement surgeon will not be able to perform this procedure if you cannot bend your knee 90 degrees or more. Also, if you have substantial damage in the ligaments or major structural problems in the knee, you may not be able to have partial knee replacement surgery.
If your partial knee replacement surgeon in Staten Island determines you are a good candidate for the procedure, you may reap several benefits compared to total knee replacement. Since the partial knee replacement surgeon only “enters” one compartment of the knee, there is considerably less pain after the procedure, and patients often leave the hospital sooner. Likewise, recovery time after partial knee replacement is usually much shorter than it is after a total knee replacement. Partial knee replacements hold up just as well as total knee replacements, even after 12 years or more.
Keep in mind that with a partial knee replacement, most of the natural joint is preserved (i.e. much of your own knee remains). This means people generally have better range of motion and function with a partial knee replacement vs. total knee replacement.
Your partial knee replacement surgeon in New York City will give you general, spinal or epidural anesthesia prior to repairing your damaged knee. With general anesthesia, you sleep through the procedure. In spinal or epidural anesthesia, you are awake, but you feel no pain. You will receive antibiotics at the time of surgery to prevent infection. The entire procedure takes place in a sterile environment for the same reason.
Your partial knee replacement surgeon will make a small incision over your knee joint, usually right down the center. All three of the knee compartments can be seen through this incision, though surgery will only be performed on one compartment. Damaged areas will be removed with various tools. Once the site is prepared, the surgeon places a prosthesis, or an artificial partial knee implant, in the joint. The surgeon will make various measurements and perform functional tests to makes sure the implant is seated properly before closing the incision with sutures.
You may need to remain in the hospital for one or two days after partial knee replacement surgery. Most patients can bear weight on the treated leg soon after surgery. In fact, your surgeon will urge you to become active as soon as possible (within limits) to promote healing and prevent complications.
Blood clots in the legs are perhaps the most common serious adverse event following partial knee replacement. To greatly reduce the risk of blood clots, people are kept on blood thinners for a few days or weeks after surgery. In rare cases, patients may develop an infection. In most cases, this infection can be treated with antibiotics. There is also a small risk that the partial knee replacement surgery does not relieve the original knee pain. If this happens, patients may need an additional surgery to relieve their ongoing symptoms.
However, the prognosis for partial knee replacement surgery is usually excellent, and it ultimately leads to a more active lifestyle and higher quality of life. Find out more about how partial knee replacement surgery can benefit you by contacting Regional Orthopedic today.