Also known as a partial knee replacement, a unicondylar knee replacement is an alternative to total knee replacement for patients suffering from osteoarthritis with damage confined to only one compartment of the knee joint. It wasn’t long ago that knee replacement surgery was reserved for the elderly. Now, implants and surgical techniques have improved dramatically, allowing more patients with osteoarthritis to become eligible for unicondylar knee replacement than ever before.
Partial knee replacement is most commonly used as a treatment for osteoarthritis, which is estimated to affect around 30% of the US population. This condition is caused by the wearing away of cartilage within the knee joint, which results in bones scraping against each other.
During a unicondylar knee replacement, only the damaged part of the knee cartilage is replaced with a prosthesis, as compared to a total knee replacement that addresses the entire knee joint.
Advantages of Unicondylar Knee Replacement
Some of the advantages of a partial knee replacement include:
- Better-preserved range of motion as compared to total knee replacement
- Preserves healthy tissue and bone in the knee, promoting better knee function
- Reduced blood-loss during surgery
- Faster recovery because of the less-invasive nature of the surgery
To be eligible for a partial knee replacement, a patient must be suffering from osteoarthritis in only one compartment of the knee joint (medial or lateral). If more than one compartment is affected, the patient may be eligible for a total knee replacement instead.
If your knee pain doesn’t subside with ice, maintaining a healthy weight, or anti-inflammatory medications, a partial knee replacement may be the answer.
Because of the advanced surgical techniques used at Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine and the minimally invasive nature of a partial knee replacement surgery, patients generally begin walking the same day the surgery takes place. Most patients return to their usual full activity about a month after surgery.
If you suffer from osteoarthritis or constant knee joint pain, we encourage you to request an appointment online, or to contact us at 904-825-0540.