What is a Partial or Total Knee Replacement?
The knee is a powerhouse. When it fails, it affects an entire body chain from the pelvis to the foot. This joint, which bears most of the weight of the body, is actually comprised of two joints. One connects the femur, the longest bone in the body, to the tibia, the second longest bone. The other joint connects the femur to the knee cap. The meniscus, a soft cartilage between the femur and tibia, serves as a cushion, helping to absorb shock during motion. These joints work together to form a hinge that allows the knee to bend and straighten, as well as rotate from side to side. Arthritis, injury, or disease can damage the joint and/or the meniscus, causing extreme pain and difficulty in performing everyday activities. Our surgeons help relieve that pain and get patients back to enjoying life with a rapid recovery KNEE REPLACEMENT.
There are two types of knee replacement procedures to relieve pain and restore alignment and function of the knee: total and partial. In a total knee replacement, the damaged bone and cartilage are resurfaced. The surgeon makes an incision to expose the knee joint. The damaged part of the femur is cut, then a component is attached to the end of the femur. The damaged part of the tibia and cartilage are cut or shaved to remove the damaged part of the bone and allow for a smooth surface to which to attach the implants. A component is then attached to the tibia. An artificial surface is placed between the two components to replace the cushioning meniscus. Everything is put together to form the new knee joint.
The knee is divided into three major compartments: media (the inside part of the knee), lateral (the outside part of the knee), and patellofemoral (the front of the knee between the knee cap and femur). Patients whose damage or disease is limited to one area may benefit from a partial knee replacement, also called knee resurfacing, where only the affected portion of the knee is resurfaced. To determine if this alternative is a viable option, the surgeon will make an incision in the front of your knee and explore the three components to determine the extent of the damage. If indeed the damage is limited to one compartment, you will undergo a partial knee replacement. The damaged bone and cartilage will be removed and replaced with metal coverings that recreate the joint surface. A plastic component will be placed between the two metal coverings to create a smooth, gliding surface.
Because a partial knee replacement resurfaces only one compartment, there are several advantages to this procedure over total knee replacement: faster recovery time, less pain after surgery, and less blood loss, which means it is commonly done in the outpatient setting. Since the bone, cartilage, and ligaments of the other parts of the knee are kept intact, many patients report that a partial knee replacement feels more natural than a total knee replacement, and that it bends better.