Undergoing knee surgery can be a daunting process, especially when you’re faced with multiple options. A total knee replacement is usually recommended for treating widespread tissue damage in the knee. But sometimes a partial knee replacement is more suitable.
Designed to treat specific areas of arthritis damage in the knee, a partial knee replacement is a less invasive approach than a total replacement. So, what does this procedure involve, and could it be a better option for you? Read on to discover more.
What is a partial knee replacement?
A partial knee replacement focuses on replacing only one damaged compartment of the knee. It is often referred to as a unicondylar replacement or unicompartmental knee replacement surgery.
There are two main types of replacement you can undergo, including fixed-bearing and mobile-bearing procedures.
In a fixed-bearing partial knee replacement, there’s a rounded component on the femur that sits on top of a flat component on the tibia.
The mobile-bearing procedure features a movable plastic spacer nestled between these components, allowing for slight rotation in the medial compartment. This rotation capability gives it the ‘mobile’ descriptor.
Research has proved that both types of partial knee replacement give favourable outcomes. However, Mr Punwar uses the fixed-bearing partial knee replacement because it has excellent results on the National Joint Registry.
When might it be recommended?
A partial knee replacement may be suggested when only one compartment of your knee is affected by arthritis or damage, and the other parts remain healthy. This could be due to specific injuries, isolated arthritis, or wear and tear localised to one area.
Patients experiencing consistent pain, swelling, or stiffness in one part of the knee, which isn’t relieved by non-surgical treatments could be ideal candidates for the procedure.
Your orthopaedic surgeon will evaluate the extent of the damage through physical exams and imaging tests. This will help to determine if it is the right solution for you.
The benefits of a partial knee replacement
Choosing a partial knee replacement offers several advantages. Firstly, because it’s a less invasive procedure, the surgery typically involves a smaller incision. This can mean less pain postoperatively and a quicker healing process. Also, with the ‘mid-vastus’ technique, the quadriceps tendon is not split, so the recovery is quicker with a faster ability to do a straight leg-raise.
The procedure is usually carried out under a regional anaesthesia, which avoids potential complications of general anaesthesia. Also, it often leads to a shorter hospital stay and a faster return to daily activities. Since only the damaged part of the knee is replaced, preserving more natural bone and tissue, patients also tend to feel that their knee moves more naturally compared to a total knee replacement.
Of course, knee arthritis can continue to spread into other areas of the knee, but a partial knee replacement can help with knee stability, giving additional protection against wear and tear.
Certainly, all these benefits make partial knee replacements an attractive option for those who qualify.
To determine your eligibility for a partial knee replacement, or to find out more, schedule a consultation with Mr Shah Punwar.