Partial Knee Replacement Surgery

Partial knee replacement (PKR) which is also called uni-compartment or uni-condylar knee replacement may be advised to those patients who have problems of moderate degree only in one of the joint compartments and they can benefit replacing only a part of articulation.

Knee Joint Structure

The knee articulation consists of the three compartments (or condyles) that are:

  • Medial (inside) condyle
  • Lateral (outside) condyle
  • Anterior (located between kneecap and thighbone) condyle

When arthritis affects only one of the compartments, it is possible to avoid total knee replacement (TKR) and preserve natural healthy bones and soft tissues.

Advantages of Unicompartment Knee Replacement

The main advantage of partial knee replacement is that it is less invasive operation and patient experiences lesser pain and damage to the tissues. It also allows preserving as much original bones as possible what make repaired joint moving more naturally as only the portion of the knee replaced with the implant.

Shorter recovery period allows to patient reducing their stay in hospital and returning to normal life quicker.

Indications and Contraindications for PKR

Despite the notable benefits, the unicompartment surgery is recommended to a limited number of people.

The patients are eligible for PKR when

  • Their joints are not well aligned
  • Experience severe stiffness
  • Suffer of persistent inflammations
  • Have acute bone infection
  • Have damaged ligaments
  • Have neuromuscular disorders
  • Have severe damaged tibia bone
  • Inclined to obesity

The procedure commonly advised to younger people who want to keep more active style of life and those who have localized not very severe osteoarthritis or post-traumatic condition. PKR is done when only one side of joint is affected and the bone on the opposite side is healthy. Otherwise, total knee replacement would be a better option.

Partial Knee Replacement Surgery

Partial Knee Replacement Surgery

Before surgery a doctor advises your implant type taking into consideration your joint anatomy, degree of disease, ligaments condition, your expectations. Generally, either medial or lateral part of the joint is replaces but sometimes patella also may need resurfacing.

Surgery can be performed with spinal anesthesia or under general anesthesia. First, the surgeon prepares area cutting and cleaning out the diseased bone and, then, fits the implant. Making sure the size of implant is proper the surgeon fixes it with pegs. Similar to a total prosthesis, a partial implant has a tibial component (a part which is inserted into tibia), usually made of plastic. The tibial components can be of the two followings types:

  • Fixed bearing. The polyethylene part is attached with click-fits system and stays static.
  • Mobile bearing. The plastic insert is not fixed but moves forth and back imitating natural joint functioning.

After fitting and fixing the implant the surgeon closes the wound with stitches. Modern minimally invasive technique allows leaving only small scars in areas where arthroscope and surgical tools were inserted.

Complications and Risks

Partial knee replacement does not have any specific risks different from other joint replacement operations. Among the possible complications you can name:

  • Blood clots, those are common complications after surgery
  • Infections
  • Loosening the implant
  • Wearing out of implant materials
  • Displacement
  • Degeneration of the knee compartment

Recovery after Surgery

Recovery after PKR has the same stages as TKP (Total Knee Replacement) but it lasts shorter. If you had PKR surgery on outpatient base you can go home the same day. Otherwise, you may stay in hospital for 2-3 days.

You may put your whole weight on your knee immediately after surgery and you are recommended walking the same day after operation with support of special devices.

At home you should try increasing the physical activities, do some exercises and walk for longer and longer distances with help of canes and someone close to you. In 3-4 week you will able to leave apart you canes and walkers and return to normal style of life restraining only from the most energetic activities. You will need physical therapy for a few months after surgery.

Unicompartment knee replacement has proved positive result, which in 98% of cases can last for 10 and more years. Please check with an expert in orthopedic surgery if you are eligible candidate for PKR.

Choose Your Orthopedic Surgeon in Germany

Orthopedic surgery is one of the most developed medical fields in Germany and you have outstanding choice of the clinics, approaches and techniques. If you have any questions on your treatment plan or consider on the best surgery method for you, please make an online call via our site. Stay with us, be informed.

Orthopedics and trauma surgery
Chief Physician

Partial Knee Replacement Surgery

Professor MD Thomas Gösling

Chief Physician

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