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Partial Knee Replacement / Unicondylar Knee Replacement

Home | Specialities | Partial Knee Replacement / Unicondylar Knee Replacement

Partial knee replacement is a procedure where only the damaged compartment is replaced with metal and plastic spacer. It is done in patients with limited pain and arthritis that is limited to only one compartment. The healthy cartilage and bone in the rest of the knee is left alone.

Advantages of partial knee replacement over total knee replacement include:

  • Quicker recovery
  • Less pain after surgery
  • Less blood loss

Also, because the bone, cartilage, and ligaments in the healthy parts of the knee are not touched, most patients report that a unicompartmental knee replacement feels more “natural” than a total knee replacement. A unicompartmental knee may also bend better.

It is advised to patients with advanced osteoarthritis who have exhausted the nonsurgical treatment options. Surgery should only be considered if your knee is significantly affecting the quality of your life.

Your arthritis must be limited to one compartment of your knee. Patients with inflammatory arthritis, significant knee stiffness, or ligament damage may not be ideal candidates.

The surgeon will use special saws to remove the cartilage from the damaged compartment of your knee and will cap the ends of the femur and tibia with metal coverings. The metal components are generally held to the bone with cement. A plastic insert is placed between the two metal components to allow for a smooth gliding surface.

Patients usually experience less postoperative pain, less swelling, and have easier rehabilitation.

You will begin putting weight on your knee immediately after surgery.

The complications and precautions remain the same as for the total knee replacement.

Unicondylar/Partial Knee Replacement

Partial Knee Replacement:

Partial knee replacement, also known as unicompartmental knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure that selectively replaces the damaged portion of the knee joint while preserving healthy bone and ligaments. This less invasive alternative to total knee replacement is often recommended for individuals with early to mid-stage osteoarthritis or specific damage limited to one knee compartment.

Candidates for Partial Knee Replacement:

Ideal candidates for partial knee replacement are those with localized knee joint damage, usually involving a single compartment. This could be due to osteoarthritis or other conditions affecting a specific knee area. Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial in determining candidacy for this procedure.

Procedure Details:

The surgical process involves making a smaller incision than total knee replacement, allowing less disruption to surrounding tissues. Careful precision replaces only the damaged portion of the knee with an artificial implant, facilitating quicker recovery. Advanced technologies, such as robotic-assisted surgery, enhance the surgeon’s precision and may contribute to improved outcomes.

Recovery and Rehabilitation:

After partial knee replacement, patients typically experience a faster recovery compared to total knee replacement. Physical therapy is integral to rehabilitation, focusing on restoring range of motion, strength, and function. Adherence to post-operative guidelines, including prescribed exercises and activity modification, is essential for optimizing healing.

Unicondylar Knee Replacement:

Unicondylar knee replacement, also known as partial knee replacement, focuses specifically on one condyle of the knee joint. This procedure offers similar advantages to partial knee replacement but targets a more confined area, providing quicker recovery times and a more natural feeling in the replaced knee.

Benefits of Unicondylar Knee Replacement:

The benefits include a smaller incision, which may result in less scarring and reduced post-operative pain. Patients often report a more natural range of motion in the replaced knee than other knee replacement options. The targeted approach of unicondylar knee replacement allows for the preservation of healthy tissues, contributing to the overall success of the procedure.

Patient Success Stories:

Real-life testimonials from individuals who have undergone partial and unicondylar knee replacements can provide valuable insights into the positive outcomes of these procedures. These stories highlight improved mobility, reduced pain, and a return to a more active lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is partial knee replacement a good idea?

Yes, partial knee replacement is often a suitable and effective option for individuals with localized knee joint damage. Factors such as the extent of damage, overall health, and the patient’s lifestyle contribute to the decision-making process. A thorough consultation with a healthcare professional is crucial for determining the best course of action.

How long does it take to recover from partial knee replacement?

Recovery times vary from person to person but are generally quicker than with total knee replacement. Factors such as overall health, adherence to post-operative guidelines, and engagement in physical therapy influence the recovery timeline. Most patients can resume normal activities within a few weeks or months.

What is the success rate of partial knee replacement?

The success rate of partial knee replacement is generally high, with many patients experiencing significant pain relief and improved joint function. However, individual outcomes may vary, and factors such as patient compliance with post-operative care and rehabilitation contribute to overall success. Long-term success is often contingent on lifestyle factors and the progression of any underlying joint conditions.

Is a partial knee replacement a major operation?

While any surgical procedure carries inherent risks, partial knee replacement is considered less invasive than total knee replacement. The smaller incision and selective replacement of damaged structures contribute to a potentially shorter recovery period. Whether a partial knee replacement is considered major depends on various factors, including the patient’s overall health and the specific details of the surgery.


In conclusion, partial knee replacement and unicondylar knee replacement offer viable solutions for individuals experiencing localized knee joint damage. These procedures provide opportunities for quicker recovery, reduced post-operative pain, and improved overall joint function. To determine the most suitable option for your specific situation, consult with a qualified healthcare professional who can provide personalized guidance based on your unique needs and medical history. Remember, informed decision-making and active participation in the rehabilitation process contribute significantly to the success of these procedures.

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