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Life in Motion

Partial Knee Replacement: An Alternative to Total Knee Replacement

Joint Health

Many people who are faced with the diagnosis of needing total joint replacement surgery wonder: is this my only option? NEBH orthopedic surgeon and joint replacement specialist Vivek Shah, MD, explains that for some people, there may be more than one choice. Many of his patients are candidates for a partial knee replacement.

What is a Partial Knee Replacement?

Partial knee replacement surgery is an alternative to total knee replacement. There are a number of reasons why someone may need a knee replacement including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, wear and tear, and trauma. Arthritic changes are usually the problem with knees, because our knees bear the brunt of our weight. When a knee becomes arthritic or suffers a trauma, it can lead to a number of problems, including chronic leg pain, back pain, mobility issues, and sleep issues.

During total knee replacement surgery, the damaged bone and cartilage is replaced with metal and plastic components. In partial knee replacement, only one area of the knee is replaced.

Who is a Candidate for Partial Knee Replacement?

A partial knee replacement is designed for patients whose problem is confined to just one area of the knee. Dr. Shah explains that your knee is divided into three major compartments: the medial compartment (the inside part of the knee), the lateral compartment (the outside part of the knee), and the patellofemoral compartment (the front of the knee between the kneecap and thighbone). Additionally, those who have had previous knee scopes are often good candidates.

What are the Benefits of Partial Knee Replacement?

Orthopedic studies have shown that patients with partial knee replacements state the knee fells more natural and have better range of motion than those who undergo total joint replacement. Additionally, patients typically experience a quicker recovery and less pain after surgery compared to a total joint replacement.

If you are considering knee replacement surgery, it’s important to talk to your doctor about which surgery is best for you.

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