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During knee replacement surgery, damaged bone and cartilage is resurfaced with metal and plastic components. In unicompartmental knee replacement (also called “partial” knee replacement) only a portion of the knee is resurfaced. This procedure is an alternative to total knee replacement for patients whose disease is limited to just one area of the knee.
Because a partial knee replacement is done through a smaller incision, patients usually spend less time in the hospital and return to normal activities sooner than total knee replacement patients.
There are a range of treatments for knee osteoarthritis and your doctor will discuss with you the options that will best relieve your individual osteoarthritis symptoms.
In unicompartmental knee replacement, only one area of the knee is resurfaced.
Multiple studies show that a majority of patients who are appropriate candidates for the procedure have good results with unicompartmental knee replacement.
The advantages of partial knee replacement over total knee replacement include:
Also, because the bone, cartilage, and ligaments in the healthy parts of the knee are kept, many patients report that a unicompartmental knee replacement feels more natural than a total knee replacement. A unicompartmental knee may also bend better.
The disadvantages of partial knee replacement compared with total knee replacement include:
An advantage of partial knee replacement over total knee replacement is that healthy parts of the knee are preserved, which helps to maintain more “natural” function of the knee.
If your osteoarthritis has advanced and nonsurgical treatment options are no longer relieving your symptoms, your doctor may recommend knee replacement surgery.
In order to be a candidate for unicompartmental knee replacement, your arthritis must be limited to one compartment of your knee. In addition, if you have any of the following characteristics, you may not be eligible for the procedure:
With proper patient selection, modern unicompartmental knee replacements have demonstrated excellent medium- and long-term results in both younger and older patients.
Author Dr. Chadwick Hampton
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