Uni-Compartmental (Partial Knee Replacement)

Your Tower Orthopaedics surgeon may recommend a minimally invasive partial knee replacement to relieve knee pain caused by arthritis or a knee injury. The following information will help you understand the benefits, the procedure, and rehabilitation process involved when performing a minimally invasive partial knee reconstruction.

When knee pain interferes with normal activities, a Partial Knee Replacement known as a uni-compartmental knee replacement may be your surgeons recommended surgery option. The surgery replaces only the damaged area of your knee joint, which results in less recovery time as compared to total knee replacement.

The knee can be separated into three parts: the medial compartment, the lateral compartment, and the patello-femoral compartment. A special implant is normal used to replace either the medial compartment or the lateral compartment.

Figure 1.1
Uni-compartmental Osteoarthritis

Figure 1.2
Post-operation with Implant

Figure 1.1 shows an x-ray of a degenerated medial (inside) compartment. Notice there is bone on bone contact (arthritis) which usually causes a great deal of pain. Figure 1.2 shows a post-operative view of a uni-compartment implant.

Benefits of a minimally invasive knee replacement include:

  • only requires a 3-4 inch incision, compared to an 8-12 inch incision for total knee replacement.
  • no disruption of the knee cap which allows speedy rehabilitation
  • minimal blood loss
  • reduced need for anesthesia nad post-operative medication
  • able to walk in 3 to 4 hours
  • full recovery in 2 to 5 weeks

A minimally invasive partial knee replacement procedure usually starts with a 3 to 4 inch incision to expose the joint. If there is any damaged cartilage or bone, it is removed also to clear the way for implant device. Once the excess material is cleared, the femur and the top of the tibia bone are shaped to accommodate the implant device. After the implant is inserted and aligned, the procedure is then complete. The entire process can be performed in 2 to 3 hours.

Figure 1.3 a visual explanation of a partial knee replacement.

Perhaps the most attractive element of minimally invasive partial knee replacement is that of rapid patient recovery. On average, a partial knee replacement patient would require only one overnight stay at a hospital. Once discharged, Tower Orthopaedics surgeons will provide access to their state-of-the-art outpatient physical therapy facility in conjuction with providing a individualized, goal oriented rehabilitation program. In just 4 to 6 weeks patients can begin walking without the assistance walking aids.