According to the National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, since the mid-20th century, knee osteoarthritis has doubled in prevalence, affecting at least 19% of American adults 45 years and older. 

Treatments for knee osteoarthritis, or deterioration of the joint cartilage of the knee, can include physical therapy, massage, acupuncture or steroid injections. If those treatments don’t work, knee replacement surgery may be the best option.

While most people with serious knee damage will have total knee replacement surgery, those who meet certain criteria can have partial knee replacement surgery or knee arthroplasty—a minimally invasive surgery in which damaged knee cartilage is replaced with an implant.

A potential candidate for partial knee replacement is someone with isolated arthritis in one compartment of the knee and an adequate range of knee motion intact.

Benefits of partial knee replacement:

1. Knee Feels More Natural

After partial knee replacement surgery, the knee feels more natural when it heals compared with total knee replacement. Patients tend to have better range of motion after a partial knee replacement because healthy knee tissue and bone are preserved compared with a total knee replacement in which the entire knee joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint.

2. Less Invasive

Having partial knee replacement is less invasive, which translates into less risk of blood clots, less blood loss during surgery and less risk of infection.

3. Faster Recovery

There is less recovery time after partial knee replacement, with many patients able to return to normal activities much sooner than total knee patients. Partial knee replacement patients tend to have a recovery time of three to six weeks, compared with at least three months after total knee replacement surgery.

4. Less Pain

Compared with a total knee replacement, there is less pain with partial knee replacement. Because the patient will have the normal ligaments in the knee, it’s a more functional knee than if the entire knee joint was replaced.

5. Easier Corrective Surgery if Needed

It’s important to note that if a partial knee surgery fails, the conversion to a total knee surgery is easier than revising total knee surgery into another total knee surgery.

For the right candidates, partial knee replacement surgery is worth consideration. Don’t delay your care, start speaking to your physician now if you are feeling any sort of knee discomfort. A conversation doesn’t result in surgery, it just helps you get informed facts so you can make the appropriate decision for yourself.  

About Sharoun Porat, M.D.

Sharoun Porat M.D. is board certified in Orthopedic Surgery, with fellowship training in Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy. His treatment philosophy is centered on holistic care for orthopedic injuries, including both surgical and nonsurgical care. Dr. Porat graduated from UCLA with a degree in Molecular and Developmental Biology and obtained both his Medical Degree and a Masters in Applied Physiology at The Chicago Medical School. His orthopedic residency training was completed at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn, New York. A proponent of patient-driven medicine, Dr. Porat strives to educate his patients on their conditions so that they may work together to make informed decisions regarding their treatment and optimize each individual’s personal care.