All three of our surgeons are specialists in the partial knee replacement. Because this procedure is fairly new, we always get a lot of questions about its effectiveness. Here are some of the main questions we hear about partial knee replacement surgery.
What exactly is a partial knee replacement?
Your knee is made up of three compartments. If you have knee osteoarthritis (OA), you may assume that your entire knee is damaged. However, your surgeon will often discover through x-ray and other imaging that only one of your compartments has OA damage. If the other two compartments of your knee look great, why would they touch them?
That is the logic behind a partial knee replacement. The doctor wants you to keep what’s healthy. While metal and plastic implants produce outstanding results, nothing works better than what God gave ya!
Will it make recovery easier?
The short answer: yes. Because the surgeons are keeping your healthy cartilage intact, that means only half of your knee has to recover. Partial knee patients have been proven to recover faster and with less pain than total knee patients. They also can return to work within several weeks, as opposed to several months, and they are more likely to return to sports or activities with full recovery.
Partial knee patients still have to go through the regimen of using a walker initially and doing physical therapy, but they are often walking well — sometimes without any assistance — by week 2.
Partial knee replacements feel more natural on stairs and uneven ground, so people are able to get back to normal function and feel great within weeks.
Wouldn’t I need a total knee replacement later on?
While it’s possible that you’d need a total knee replacement after having a partial, it is still unlikely. Modern implants for both partial and total knees typically last for 15-20 years.
If you outlast a total knee replacement and have trouble years down the road, you may need a revision surgery. The same goes for a partial knee: if you outlast the implant and have recurring pain in the knee, you may need a total knee replacement. However, the likelihood is the same for both scenarios, and many of our patients with partial knees never need another surgery.
If you have more questions about how a partial knee replacement works, then call our office! Our clinical staff is always happy to answer any questions you may have.