A partial knee replacement involves replacing damaged bone and cartilage on the inside, outer part, or front of the knee joint with artificial parts. Since the surgery aims to replace damage in just one part of the knee, the range of motion is preserved and recovery tends to be quicker. A partial knee replacement can be done using a minimally invasive technique, allowing patients to go home on the same day as the procedure.
A partial knee replacement is also referred to as a unicompartmental knee replacement. During the procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in front of the knee, and then removes the damaged bone and cartilage using special tools. Next, they replace the removed components with metal and plastic parts that recreate the surface of the joint. The metal parts are held in place using cement, and the surgeon places a plastic spacer in between them for smooth gliding. The surgeon stitches the incision shut, and you are taken to the recovery room to recover from the anesthesia.
Preparing for recovery from knee replacement helps make the experience more comfortable. The recovery process starts as soon as the patient awakens from anesthesia. The knee will be bandaged. The patient’s health care team will provide instructions on how to care for the incision, including how and when to change the bandages.
Most patients get back the function of their affected knee rapidly after a partial knee replacement. Partial knee replacement surgery patients are usually able to walk right away and have an easier rehabilitation due to the preservation of the surrounding healthy tissue. While most can bear weight on the affected knee, patients are usually provided a cane, crutches, or a walker for maximum comfort. Physical therapy, lasting several weeks, helps with pain relief, rebuilding strength, and gradually restoring function to the knee. It typically starts while the patient is still in the hospital or facility. It should continue for several weeks after surgery for the best long-term results.
There is typically less postoperative pain with this procedure than a total joint replacement. Your doctor will prescribe medication for pain control and to reduce your risk of infection. Medication to prevent the formation of blood clots may also be prescribed.
The typical recovery time for this procedure is six to eight weeks, during which, patients should be on the lookout for signs of infection and complications, such as fever, severe pain, pus formation, and bleeding. After six weeks, most patients are back to normal function. How long it takes a patient to get back to normal depends on how closely they follow the doctor’s instructions and how consistently they do physical therapy exercises.
To prevent excessive wear on the new joint, avoid high-impact activities. Light-impact exercises such as walking, cycling, or swimming are recommended.
Knee Surgeons in Naples, FL
The knee surgeons at the Joint Replacement Institute can effectively improve your knee symptoms using the most advanced surgical techniques, including robot-assisted surgery, for knee replacements. We have performed numerous partial knee replacements over the years, with great success. Find out what surgical options are available to you.