What is a partial knee replacement?

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Knee osteoarthritis can occur as we age. This can have a devastating impact on mobility and how we carry out everyday activities. Some patients may benefit from a partial knee replacement, which is an alternative to a full knee replacement. Below we explore partial knee replacement surgery and how it can help individuals with knee osteoarthritis.

What is a partial knee replacement?

A partial knee replacement is a major surgery that involves the replacement of half of the knee joint. The surgery takes a shorter time than a full knee replacement and usually requires a shorter hospital admission. This surgery is often performed when the damage is confined to just one part of the knee.

Why you may be offered a partial knee replacement

A partial knee replacement is a major surgical procedure, so is only really offered when alternative treatments have failed. These include treatments such as steroid injections and physiotherapy when they have failed to improve mobility and reduce pain.

You may be offered this surgery if you have constant pain, stiffness and swelling of your knee. If your pain is impacting upon your daily activities and is having a negative impact upon your mental health, then you may also be referred for a partial knee replacement.

What is knee osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is when the articular cartilage – the connective tissue in the knee joint – wears away. This connective tissue is responsible for protecting bones, as it stops them from rubbing against each other. When this cartilage becomes damaged and thins, this can lead to inflammation of the joint, resulting in pain and stiffness of movement.

Recovery following partial knee replacement surgery

The recovery following partial knee replacement is usually much quicker than a full knee replacement, but every individual is different and recovery times will differ. Most patients are in the hospital for a minimum of three days but are usually home after five days. You will be given crutches to use and a physiotherapist will give you advice on how to move, plus exercises that should be done at home. Most patients can be crutch-free after six weeks.

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