A partial knee replacement is an alternative to total knee replacement for some people with osteoarthritis of the knee. A partial knee replacement is often required when only one part of the knee has been degraded or badly damaged. This may involve the kneecap or the inner or outer section of the knee joint. This procedure is less invasive than a total knee replacement, and normal activities can be resumed relatively soon after surgery.
What is a Partial/ Unicompartmental Knee Replacement?
Damaged bone and cartilage will be resurfaced with metal and plastic components during knee replacement surgery. Only a portion of the knee is resurfaced in a unicompartmental knee replacement. This procedure is an alternative to total knee replacement for patients whose disease is limited to just one area of the knee. In addition, because a partial knee replacement is performed through a smaller incision, patients usually spend less time in the hospital and return to normal activities sooner than total knee replacement patients.
You could be offered a partial knee replacement if you have:
- Inflammatory arthritis
- Significant knee stiffness
- Ligament damage
What Are The Benefits of a Partial Knee Replacement?
Partial knee replacements come with a whole host of benefits which may realistically include:
- Quicker recovery
- Less pain after surgery
- Reduced blood loss
How Do I Know If I Need a Partial Knee Replacement?
The signs and symptoms someone may be experiencing when needing partial knee replacement include:
- Severe pain, swelling and stiffness in your knee joint and your mobility is reduced
- Pain interacting with your quality of life
- Everyday tasks difficult or impossible
- Lack of mobility
- Reduced social life & unable to work as usual
The Partial Knee Replacement Procedure
During this procedure, the cartilage and bone are removed from the damaged or degraded part of the knee. The removed cartilage and bone are replaced by metal replacements typically cemented into the bone, with a spacer inserted to create a smooth surface.
What Are The Risks of a Partial Knee Replacement?
As with all other surgical and theatre-based procedures, there are a few risks to consider regarding partial knee replacements. These may include:
- Blood clots
- Injury to nerves
- Continued pain
- Possible further surgery may be required
How Much Does a Partial Knee Replacement Cost?
Privately, partial knee replacement surgery costs around £13,000, but it may be quite a lot more with complications.
This treatment is available on the NHS for those who meet the criteria, however there is a waiting list of more than 18 months.