Partial Knee Replacement

Knee replacement surgery is one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine. The most common type of knee replacement is a “total knee” where all three compartments of the knee are replaced. In certain cases however, the osteoarthritis is limited to only one compartment of the knee. These patients will typically have symptoms limited to a specific area of the knee. In this case it is possible to replace only one part of the knee. The obvious advantage to this procedure is a less invasive surgery and a much quicker recovery. There are several patient factors that must be considered during evaluation for this procedure.

54 yo female with persistent medial (inside) knee pain. Patient had no significant pain in the lateral (outside) aspect of the knee and no pain at the patella. Patient went forward with a left unicompartmental (partial) knee replacement which led to complete resolution of medial sided pain and return to active lifestyle.










Overall, approximately 10%-20% of patients undergoing knee replacement may be candidates for a partial knee. This procedure often requires specialty training in joint replacement and not all surgeons offer this option to patients.  A partial knee arthroplasty is also known as a unicompartment knee replacement. This refers to the fact that only one compartment of the knee is replaced. The most typical scenario is a patient with pain along the medial (inside) aspect of the knee. If the medial compartment of the knee is the only area with significant degenerative change then this patient may be a candidate for a partial knee replacement. Some of the other issues that influence decision making are patient weight, knee range of motion, and the status of the knee ligaments.

Potential Advantages of a Partial Knee Replacement

For patients who are candidates, partial knee replacement is an excellent option. In comparison to a total knee replacement the incision is smaller, blood loss is less, hospital stay is shorter, and recovery is much quicker. It is easier to regain knee range of motion and most patients describe a partial knee as a more “natural-feeling” knee compared to total knee replacement. During a partial knee replacement, all native knee ligaments are preserved. Knee biomechanics are undisturbed. Essentially it is a resurfacing procedure for the isolated arthritic compartment of the knee. Partial knee replacement can be done for the medial compartment, lateral compartment, or patellofemoral compartment of the knee.

Dr. Wind has been performing partial knee replacements since starting practice in 2009. He had extensive experience with this procedure during his fellowship training in joint replacement. He has completed additional training in order to gain certification to use the Oxford Knee (Biomet). Developed in the United Kingdom over 25 years ago, this component system has the best long term outcomes of any partial knee system on the world market.

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