Unicondylar/ Unicompartmental / Partial Knee Replacement

Partial Knee Replacement

Knee replacement is generally performed with an aim to reduce the pain and improve the mobility and functioning of the diseased or damaged knee joint. Although total knee replacement is an excellent option for such patients, but for those patients whose only one part or compartment of the joint is damaged, unicompartmental knee replacement can prove to be more beneficial and natural procedure.

It is an option for a small percentage of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee whose arthritis is confined to any one of the three condyles (medial, lateral or patellofemoral) of the knee joint. The procedure involves replacement or resurfacing of only the damaged compartment with metal or plastic prosthesis. The healthy cartilage and bone in the rest of the knee are preserved to support the knee joint.

Indications for Unicondylar knee replacement

Surgeon may recommend unicondylar knee replacement surgery in following conditions:

  • Arthritis limited to one compartment of the knee

  • Intact ligaments

  • Patient over 50 years of age

  • Knee pain and restricted mobility that interferes with daily lifestyle

  • Failed nonsurgical treatment options

Contrary to this, following conditions are not considered ideal for unicondylar knee replacement:

  • Inflammatory arthritis e.g. rheumatoid arthritis

  • Arthritis affecting more than one compartment

  • Severe angular deformity

  • Significant knee stiffness

  • Ligament damage

  • Previous osteotomy

  • Unstable knee

  • Obese patients

Advantages of partial knee replacement over total knee replacement

  • Quicker recovery

  • Smaller incisions

  • Less post-operative pain

  • Less trauma & blood loss

  • Shorter hospital stay

  • Less need for physiotherapy

  • Excellent medium- and long-term results in both younger and older patients

  • More natural procedure as healthy parts of bone, cartilage, and ligaments are kept intact

  • Better and smooth bending and movement of the resultant knee