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Outpatient Unicondylar Knee Replacement

pediatric orthopedics

What is Outpatient Unicondylar Knee Replacement?

A unicondylar knee replacement, also known as unicompartmental or partial knee replacement, is a procedure to replace a portion of the damaged knee joint with a prosthetic implant to relieve pain and improve function of the knee joint. Traditionally performed as an inpatient procedure, advances in technology have allowed this procedure to be performed in a minimally invasive manner on an outpatient basis allowing patients to go home the same day of the surgery 

Knee Anatomy

The knee is made up of the femur (thighbone), the tibia (shinbone), and patella (kneecap). The lower end of the thighbone meets the upper end of the shinbone at the knee joint. A small bone called the patella (kneecap) rests on a groove on the front side of the femoral end. A bone of the lower leg (fibula) forms a joint with the shinbone. The bones are held together by protective tissues, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Synovial fluid within the joint aids in smooth movement of the bones over one another. The meniscus, a soft crescent-shaped cartilage between the femur and tibia, serves as a cushion and helps absorb shock during motion.

When is Outpatient Unicondylar Knee Replacement Indicated?

The most common indications for outpatient unicondylar knee replacement not amenable to conservative treatment include:

Diagnosis for Outpatient Unicondylar Knee Replacement

A detailed examination with an orthopedic surgeon will confirm whether or not you need an outpatient unicondylar knee replacement, including:

What Happens during Outpatient Unicondylar Knee Replacement?

The operation is performed in an outpatient setting under anesthesia. After adequately sterilizing the surgical area, the surgeon makes a small cut to gain access to the affected knee compartment. The supporting structures of the knee are gently moved out of the way and the damaged cartilage and bone tissue from the surfaces of the femur and tibia are removed. Your surgeon prepares these surfaces appropriately to insert specifically sized prosthetic components to your joint. These components are then secured with the use of cement. All surrounding tissues and structures are restored to their normal anatomic position, and the cut is closed with sutures and sterile dressings.

Postoperative Care and Instructions

As it is an outpatient (same-day) surgery, you will be able to leave the hospital on the same day after your anesthesia wears off. Recovery depends on various factors but is generally quick. You will be given postoperative instructions on:

What are the Advantages of Outpatient Unicondylar Knee Replacement?

The advantages of an outpatient unicondylar knee replacement procedure include:

What are the Risks and Complications Associated with Outpatient Unicondylar Knee Replacement?

Outpatient unicondylar knee replacement is relatively a safe procedure, but however, as with any procedure, it does carry some risks, including:

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