Partial Knee Replacement Surgery

If you suffer from knee pain caused by arthritis that’s limited to one or two parts of your knee, you may be a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure called partial knee replacement.

Instead of replacing your entire knee joint, your surgeon replaces only the damaged parts—leaving the healthy cartilage and bone in the rest of your knee intact.

What does a partial knee replacement involve?

Your knee is divided into three major compartments:

  • The medial compartment (the inside part of the knee)
  • The lateral compartment (the outside part)
  • The patellofemoral compartment (the front of the knee between the kneecap and thighbone)

If you have arthritis in one or two of these knee parts, only these damaged compartments are replaced (also called resurfaced).

  • In a unicompartmental knee replacement, only one compartment is replaced
  • In a bicompartmental knee replacement, two compartments are replaced

Your surgeon will ask you to identify the painful area in your knee and evaluate your range of motion and your knee’s stability. An X-ray of the knee also will help determine if you’re eligible for partial knee replacement.

What are the benefits of partial knee replacement?

There are several benefits to this minimally invasive procedure, including:

  • A smaller incision compared to total knee replacement, so there’s less scarring
  • The procedure doesn’t disrupt the kneecap, which contributes to a shorter recovery period
  • There is less blood loss during a partial knee replacement than a total knee replacement
  • Patients experience considerably less post-operative pain since less bone is removed
  • The hospitalization for this procedure is shorter than for total knee replacement
  • Patients report that their partial knee replacement feels more natural, with greater range of motion, than do patients who undergo total knee replacement

Importantly, since healthy bone is preserved, a partial knee replacement leaves the door open for a total knee replacement later in life, if it’s necessary.

Who’s a candidate for partial knee replacement?

You may be a candidate for partial knee replacement if:

  • You have osteoarthritis limited to the medial, lateral or patellofemoral part of your knee
  • You have a moderately active lifestyle
  • You are within a normal weight range
  • Your knee pain hasn’t responded to anti-inflammatory medications

What is the recovery time from partial knee replacement like?

Every body is different. How quickly you recover from this procedure depends on your age, how physically active you are before surgery, and how closely you follow your prescribed physical therapy regimen before and after surgery.

In general, you can start moving your knee the day after surgery, and your knee function should return quickly and with less pain than with total knee replacement. You’ll participate in physical therapy while you’re in the hospital (usually a one- or two-day stay), and for two to four weeks after discharge.

Patients who maintain healthy habits and a healthy weight after surgery typically experience less pain and improved mobility—enabling them to get back to the activities they enjoyed before pain became a problem.

What kinds of partial knee replacement procedures are available?

We offer two types of partial knee replacement procedures:

  • Traditional minimally invasive partial knee replacement

Want to learn more about partial knee replacement?

Simply call us to schedule an appointment at the location that’s most convenient for you at Portland: (503) 261-6961.