Traditionally, when patients develop arthritis of the knee that does not respond to conservative treatment, a total knee replacement was offered as the definitive treatment of choice. However, in nearly half of patients who come to an orthopedic clinic with knee pain, the arthritis is only located in a single part (compartment) of the knee. These patients are excellent candidates for partial knee replacement. This procedure is performed through a minimally invasive muscle‐sparing approach that preserves all muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This way only the parts of the knee that are damaged are replaced, and the other compartments of the knee that have not developed arthritis are preserved. The result is that patients have a joint replacement that feels more like the native knee. As a result of the minimally invasive muscle sparing approach, and only replacing the parts of the knee that are damaged, patients are able to recover faster and get back to their active lives sooner. Patients with partial knee replacements are able to quickly resume activities such as hiking, golf, tennis, cycling, and even skiing. Ninety percent of partial knee replacements have been shown to last 20 years (1).
If at any point a patient develops arthritis in the remainder of the knee after partial knee replacement, this can be easily converted to a minimally invasive total knee replacement.
1. Long‐term survivorship and failure modes of unicompartmental knee arthroplasty. Foran JR, Brown NM, Della Valle CJ, Berger RA, Galante JO. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2013 Jan;471(1):102‐8.
2. Total knee arthroplasty has higher postoperative morbidity than unicompartmental knee arthroplasty: a multicenter analysis. Brown NM, Sheth NP, Davis K, Berend ME, Lombardi AV, Berend KR, Della Valle CJ. J Arthroplasty. 2012 Sep;27(8 Suppl):86‐90.
written by J.Joseph Gholson, MD, Missoula Bone & Joint
If you have been told that you have arthritis of the knee, and that a total knee replacement is the only option, schedule an appointment with Dr. Joseph Gholson to see if you are a candidate for a partial knee replacement (406) 721-4436