Partial Knee Replacement
Partial knee replacement is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that
resurfaces the worn, arthritic surfaces of the knee joint with metal and
plastic components. Over time, the cartilage covering the ends of the
femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone) can wear away causing pain, swelling
and reduced mobility. If the wear is confined to one area of the knee,
partial knee replacement may be an option.
What is the difference between partial and total knee replacement?
The knee joint is made up of three bones—the femur, the tibia and
the patella (or knee cap). The femur contacts the tibia with two areas,
called condyles—the medial condyle and the lateral condyle. The
underside of the kneecap also contacts the femur and tibia as it glides
along the groove in the femur.
Any of these three areas of contact can fall victim to the wear and tear
effects of arthritis—causing pain, heat, stiffness and swelling.
Total knee replacement involves the replacement of all three surfaces with
metal and plastic components. If arthritis is limited to either the lateral
or medial compartment of the knee, partial knee replacement may be considered.
Who is a candidate for partial knee replacement?
Partial knee replacement may be an option for those who have painful, debilitating
arthritis limited to one area of the knee and who no longer get relief
from conservative measures, such as physical therapy, medications or weight
loss. Only your doctor can determine if you are a candidate for this procedure.
What are the advantages?
Because the partial knee replacement artificial joints are smaller than
total knee implants, the surgical incision may be smaller.
A smaller incision may lead to a smaller scar. Other potential benefits
to partial knee replacement include a quicker operation and a shorter
hospital stay (compared with a total knee replacement).* Rehabilitation
may also be more accelerated.*
Because less bone is removed and there is less trauma to soft tissue during
surgery, your knee may feel more natural than with a total knee replacement.1
Not all patients are candidates for partial knee replacement. Depending
on your condition, a total knee replacement may be recommended by your doctor.
How long is the recovery period?
Many people will be able to go home the day after the procedure. Because
most of the knee joint is left intact after the operation, there is usually
less pain than with total knee replacement.
How long will it last?
All knee replacements can wear out over time, including total knee replacements.
How long a particular implant may last varies from patient to patient
and depends on a number of factors including the patient’s weight,
activity level, and the accuracy of the implant’s placement.
What are the risks?
Even though partial knee replacement is considered a minimally invasive
procedure, it is still surgery, and as with any surgery, there are risks.
Your surgeon and healthcare team will take great care to minimize the
risk of complications. Keep in mind that complications are rare, but they
need to be understood by you and your family. For more information,
Why choose us the Advanced Spine & Joint Institute at Alvarado Hospital?
If you want to combine a healing environment with the latest advances in
joint replacement, look no further than the brand-new Advanced Spine &
Joint Institute at Alvarado Hospital. Our healing-designed unit reflects
San Diego's beautiful landscapes and landmarks. Plus, no hospital
gowns for our patients! You were comfortable clothes from home and choose
a family member or friend to be your coach throughout the process.
You also can take comfort in the fact that our hospital is ranked among
America's best! As ranked by
Healthgrades, we are:
- America's 100 Best Hospitals (in the nation) for Orthopedic Surgery
- Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence (2014-2015)
- Patient Safety Excellence Award (2015)
To learn more, take an
online video tour of the unit and find an orthopedic specialist, visit our website or call
our joint care coordinators at (619) 229-4548 or 229-4569. Call more information
about the program, call us 24/7 at (800) ALVARADO (800-258-2723).
Alvarado's Physician Referral Service can help you find an othropedic
specialist who meets your needs. To find an orthopedist affiliated with
our program, click here, or call one of our helpful representatives at
(800) ALVARADO (800-258-2723). You can also contact our joint care coordinator
by calling (619) 229-4548 or by
Alvarado Advantage Club
Join the free Alvarado Advantage Club and enjoy a variety of perks: priority
parking, free newspaper with breakfast if hospitalized, gift shop/cafe
discounts, pharmacy and hotel discounts, and much more! To sign-up,
*American Academy of Orthopedic Medicine. Unicompartmental Knee Replacement
http:// orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00585 (last reviewed)