If you suffer from constant knee pain caused by osteoarthritis that’s confined to one area of your knee, partial knee replacement surgery may relieve your pain and help you regain your active life. This surgery, also called unicompartmental arthroplasty, repairs the diseased area of the knee, saving as much of your natural knee as possible.
Potential benefits of this alternative to total knee replacement include:
- Reduced pain
- Less blood loss
- Shorter hospital stay
- Quicker recovery
- Faster return to walking and normal activity
- Better motion and a more natural feeling knee
To increase your chances of returning to an active lifestyle, talk with a physician before your osteoarthritis progresses too far.
Diseases and Injuries Best Treated With Partial Knee Replacement
Knee problems best treated by partial knee replacement include:
- Osteoarthritis damage in only one area (compartment) of your knee – lateral, patellofemoral or medial.
- Moderate or severe knee pain while resting.
- Pain that is not relieved by anti-inflammatory treatments, physical therapy or walking aids such as canes.
- Difficulty walking or climbing stairs.
- Trouble rising from a seated position.
- Inflammation and swelling that don’t improve with rest or medications.
Partial knee replacement isn’t for everyone. This treatment may not be suitable for people with inflammatory arthritis, very bad knee stiffness or ligament damage.
Faster Recovery with Less Pain
Partial knee replacement uses a smaller incision than a total knee replacement procedure. This means your knee joint suffers less stress. Minimizing joint stress shortens recovery time, reduces post-surgery pain and can help you regain your active lifestyle sooner.
Partial Knee Replacement Procedure
During this surgery, only the diseased compartment is replaced with an implant. Watch this video to learn more about the procedure.
Knee Surgery at BCH
Our knee replacement program has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® by demonstrating compliance with national standards for quality and safety. The Joint Commission is the nation’s largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. BCH is one of only five Colorado hospitals to have earned this important certification.
We use a patient-centered approach to medical care. Every patient receives a personalized care plan that guides the entire medical team – from the technicians who prepare the surgical suite to the rehabilitation therapists who will help you take your first steps after surgery. We’ll chaperon you through every step of the surgical process and keep your family members in the loop, too.
We offer a comprehensive range of surgical services including a dedicated orthopedic nursing unit where all clinical staff specialize in the treatment of orthopedic patients. We also can provide physical therapy and home care if you need those services.
Since we partner with many experienced and highly trained orthopedists, we can help you find a doctor who’s right for you.
Visit our orthopedist list for information about the surgeons affiliated with Boulder Community Health.
Preparing for a Partial Knee Replacement Procedure
If you and your physician decide partial knee replacement is the best treatment option for you, you’re invited to attend a free Pre-Surgery Joint Class to learn more about your procedure and how to prepare for it. This important education can help you get the best possible care from your medical team and improve your recovery.
Questions and Answers about Partial Knee Replacement
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis and a degenerative joint disease that causes cartilage to break down, removing the buffer between bones. This may cause pain during normal daily activities and can eventually cause loss of motion and poor alignment of the knees.
How will I benefit from this procedure?
Partial knee replacement can help you reclaim an active life by reducing your knee pain, increasing your mobility and restoring your range of motion. Surgery is a good alternative when non-surgical treatments have failed to restore the health of your knee joint.
Will I be able to resume my normal activities after surgery?
Your recovery will depend on your overall health and the success of your rehabilitation. Most people can resume light activities, such as walking and driving, within three weeks and normal activity within six weeks. Your commitment and cooperation are vital to a successful recovery. Following your orthopedist’s advice and adhering to your rehabilitation plan will increase your odds of resuming normal activities and reducing recovery time.
How long will my knee implant last?
Medical research shows most of the latest implants last an average of 10-15 years depending on your age and activity level.
What are the risks of this surgery?
Partial knee replacement is generally safe but, as with any surgery, complications can occur. Possible problems that could arise from this surgery include:
- Blood clots can form in your leg veins as a result of decreased movement of your leg after surgery or injury to your veins during the procedure. Orthopedists usually prescribe blood-thinning medications after surgery to prevent clots from forming. Exercises that increase blood flow through your leg veins, such as walking, can also reduce the risk of clots.
- Infections can occur at the site of your incision and in the tissues near your new implant. Most infections are treated with antibiotics, but a major infection near your new implant may require surgery to replace the knee joint.
- Implant problems – New materials are helping implants last longer, but your knee joint may eventually wear out or the components may loosen. If you have partial knee replacement surgery when you're relatively young, you may need a total knee replacement within your lifetime.
- Neurovascular injury–The nerves or blood vessels in your knee may be injured during surgery. A major blood vessel injury could require surgical repair.
To learn more, visit our orthopedist list to make an appointment with a knee specialist.
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