Partial knee replacement

Partial knee replacement is a type of less invasive knee replacement surgery that only replaces sections of the damaged joint. For younger patients, partial knee replacement is beneficial because it removes less bone. As younger patients often need to undergo another knee replacement surgery later in life to correct the wear and tear on the artificial joint, having more bone in the knee can make a future revision knee replacement easier to perform.

In an arthritic knee joint, the thigh and shin bones can rub together causing inflammation, pain, and reduced knee mobility. By replacing the parts of the knee that grind together, a partial knee replacement puts and entirely new surface over the tibia and femur. Where before surgery, the knee was stiff, creaky, painful and grinding, after surgery, the highly engineered partial knee joint glides smoothly.

Knee osteoarthritis usually occurs first in the medial (inside) portion of the joint. In knees that are otherwise healthy, a partial knee implant procedure can preserve the healthy bone, cartilage, and ligaments, potentially preventing or delaying the need for total knee replacement.

Who can have a partial knee replacement?

A good candidate for partial knee replacement surgery is someone with

  • Advanced arthritis with pain that is no longer adequately relieved with conservative (non-surgical) measures
  • Arthritis that is limited to one or two compartments
  • A lack of inflammatory arthritis, ligament damage, or significant knee stiffness or deformity.

Globally only about 8% of people with knee arthritis receive partial knee replacements, but up to 47% of people with knee arthritis could be candidates for partial knee replacement.

Dayton Orthopedic Surgery uses The Oxford® Partial Knee implant from Biomet Orthopedics, which is a partial knee implant designed to repair only one side of the knee (the medial side), making it much smaller than a total knee implant.

In patients with only limited knee arthritis, known as medial compartment arthritis, surgeons may elect to perform a partial knee replacement. Some advantages of the Oxford® partial knee replacement are that it removes 75% less bone and cartilage, is less painful, enables a more rapid recovery, and provides more natural motion when compared to a total knee replacement.

Smaller surgery leads to less pain, quicker recovery

Benefits of Partial Replacements

  • Quicker recovery
  • Less pain after surgery
  • Less blood loss
  • Feels more like a normal knee
  • Bends better
  • Better patient satisfaction
  • Fewer complications
  • In most cases, the joint lasts much longer, delaying total knee replacement by several decades. Studies have shown up to 90% of partial knee replacements still working at 20 years.

Disadvantages of Partial Replacements

  • Slightly less predictable pain relief
  • Inability to completely correct alignments and effect motion like a total knee replacement
  • Potential need for future surgery. Total knee replacement is the most common procedure in the future if one develops arthritis in the nonreplaced compartments of the knee.

Next Steps

If you think that a partial knee replacement might be right for you, contact Dayton Orthopedic Surgery at (937) 436-5763. Our dedicated team of partial knee replacement specialists will determine if you are a suitable candidate for this surgery, and our in-house team of doctors, physician’s assistants, nurses and physical therapists will support you every step of the way – all the way from first diagnosis through to a full recovery!