Unicompartmental Knee Replacement

Are you a candidate for unicompartmental knee replacement surgery?

Your knee has essentially three compartments-an inside, outside, and front. It is possible for the cartilage to become worn or damaged in only one of these three compartments. If this causes consistent pain during normal activities, a unicompartmental, or partial, knee replacement can be considered as an alternative to a total knee replacement. While a unicompartmental replacement allows quicker recovery, it is not often recommended for younger, more active people, because it may be less durable under heavy use than a total knee replacement. It is most often performed on older, less active patients; however, newer designs of unicompartmental knee replacement have been successful in younger, more active patients

The unicompartmental knee replacement procedure

The procedure is similar to that of a total knee replacement, but the implants used only cover the single compartment of the knee joint where there has been damage to the cartilage or bone.

What to expect from a unicompartmental knee replacement

Advantages of a unicompartmental, or partial, knee replacement include the fact that it retains healthy parts of the knee that may allow the joint to function better. The incision is also much smaller and does not affect the major muscles controlling the joint, so rehabilitation is considerably shorter, and many patients can resume normal daily activities within two weeks of surgery. On the other hand, a unicompartmental knee replacement can complicate any later surgeries on the knee and may not be as durable as a full knee replacement, especially in younger, more active people.