When Would You Only Need a Partial Knee Replacement?

A partial knee replacement is a surgery in which only a part of the kneecap is replaced, rather the full kneecap. This type of surgery is usually used when there is only limited damage to the knee joint. A partial knee replacement allows patients to return to physical activity but will not restore full function of the joint. This means that some forms of physical activity may be restricted.

The partial knee replacement surgery is a complex procedure that involves replacing only part of the damaged outer or inner lining of the knee. This type of surgery may be necessary if you have severe arthritis in your knees.

The Ideal Candidate for a Partial Knee Replacement

A partial knee replacement procedure will highly depend on your age, lifestyle, and injury history. You may an ideal candidate for this surgery if:

  1. You don’t want to undergo a total knee replacement because of concerns about weight loss or osteoporosis after surgery.
  2. You have mild symptoms but are still able to walk without any pain.
  3. Your doctor thinks that more conservative treatments will not provide enough improvement in your condition.
  4. You are over the age of 40 years old. Also, the cartilage that acts as a shock absorber within the joint wears away with this disorder, commonly affecting patients over 45. Bones that don’t have enough cartilage rub against one another, resulting in discomfort and stiffness.

Why Consider a Partial Knee Replacement?

There are various reasons that one might consider a partial knee replacement surgery.

  • Your current knee is too worn out to bear weight, so it’s too painful to walk on.
  • You have arthritis in your hip or other parts of your body that affects your knee. If this happens, you’ll need a total knee replacement instead of this procedure.
  • A blood lot has formed around your blood vessels near your kneecap (patella). The clot could prevent proper blood flow through these vessels and cause damage over time to the structures in your leg (such as cartilage).

Benefits of Partial Knee Replacement

Partial knee replacement surgeries have many benefits over total knee replacements, including:

  1. Improved comfort – the partial knee replacement will replace only the damaged area of your joint, reducing pain and allowing you to walk normally.
  2. Improved mobility – a partial knee replacement will not remove all movement from your joint and may give you extra movement in certain directions. However, it will not be as strong and flexible as a total knee replacement would be if it were done simultaneously. Nevertheless, it can help you maintain some range of motion while maintaining a high level of comfort.
  3. Reduced risk of infection and bleeding at the site where the implant was placed (called dehiscence) – There is less bone exposed than there would be with a total knee replacement. Also, there is less cartilage removed inside the joint during partial knee surgery than there would be with a total joint.

The overall objective of this less invasive surgery is to alleviate pain and restore function, unlike a total knee replacement. It’s always best to consult a physician about your pain to get the best treatment and recommendations. At Plano Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center in Richardson, Texas, our physicians can help you with all your orthopedic needs.

Dr. Matthew C. Comley

Shoulder, Knee and Sports Medicine
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Dr. Adam Wright

Hip and Knee
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Dr. John E. McGarry

General Orthopedics, Shoulder, Knee and Sports Medicine
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Dr. John W. Barrington

Hip, Shoulder and Knee Replacement
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Dr. Randal L. Troop

Shoulder, Knee and Sports Medicine
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