What is a Partial Knee Replacement?

According to a study published in Science Daily this month, total knee arthroplasty (TKA), or total knee replacement, is one of the most common surgeries performed by orthopedic physicians in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 700,000 knee replacements are performed in the U.S. every year. Most often, TKA is performed to treat osteoarthritis that is apparent throughout a knee joint.

However, partial knee replacements or unicompartmental knee arthroplasties (UKA) – are making the news lately as an option for patients with osteoarthritis in only a portion of their knee.

Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR) recently conducted a study of 3,000 TKA and UKA patients. The study results revealed that post-surgery complications were three to four times lower after partial knee replacement than total knee replacement. To be a candidate for a partial knee replacement, a patient’s osteoarthritis must be limited to one compartment of the knee, he/she must have good range of motion and have a stable anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

In addition to a lower risk of post-surgical complications, MOR joint replacement physicians point to the following benefits of a partial knee replacement versus a total knee replacement:

  • Better movement/more flexibility. In a partial knee replacement, only the
    damaged compartment is replaced with metal and plastic while the healthy cartilage and bone are left in the knee. Many patients report this type of replacement feels more normal and allows for better bending of the knee.
  • Faster recovery. Compares to patients who have total knee replacement, those who have partial knee replacements usually experience shorter hospital stays. Patients are more likely to be discharged home instead of to the intensive care unit. Unicompartmental knee patients also feel less pain and are able to resume regular activity by six weeks post-surgery.

According to MOR joint replacement specialists, it is likely that the number of partial knee replacements is expected to increase each year, as it has proven to be a valid option for qualified knee arthritis patients hoping for a faster recovery with less pain, a shorter hospital stay and a knee that feels more normal and natural.

For additional information about the Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush joint replacement specialty, call 877 MD BONES (877.632.6637).

Midwest Orthopaedics