Partial Knee Replacements

A partial knee replacement is where half of the knee joint is removed and replaced with a metal and plastic prosthesis.

They are performed when there is damage to one side of the knee joint, usually from arthritis. They are sometimes known as a Uni Knee Replacement (UKR) or Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty.

Approximately half a million partial knee replacements are carried out each year in the US.

Who Are They Suitable For?

There are strict criteria that assess for the suitability of a uni knee replacement:
1) There can be no damage to the cartilage on the other side of the knee that isn’t being replaced
2) There must be full thickness loss of cartilage on the affected side
3) Both cruciate ligaments (ACL and PCL) should preferably be intact – see end of page
4) Partial knee replacements are only suitable for osteoarthritis, not inflammatory arthritis (rheumatoid)

Patient’s age, weight and activity level do not impact suitability for the surgery.

How Do They Differ From a TKR?

Partial knee replacement vs Total knee replacement

In one third of cases, knee arthritis only affects one side of the knee. It is 6 times more likely to be the inner (medial) side rather than the outer (lateral) which is affected.

In the past, the whole knee had to be replaced, even if part of the knee joint was ok. But about 30 years ago partial knee replacement surgery was developed. It means it is possible to replace only one side of the knee joint meaning the unaffected part of the knee does not undergo unnecessary surgery and leads to a quicker and fuller recovery.

Cruciate Ligament Damage?

As a general rule, you need all your ligaments to be working properly to have a Uni Knee Replacement. However in 2003, the first combined partial knee replacement and ACL reconstruction was successfully performed in the UK. I was the physio responsible for that patient’s rehab. It is always worth discussing with your surgeon what your options are.

My Experience and Advice

People do really well after a partial knee replacement. Virtually all my clients who have had one absolutely rave about them. It is obviously a bit painful for a few weeks after the surgery but the post-operative pain is usually much less than the pain from arthritis and even that settles within a few weeks. People are always amazed how quickly they are up and about and get back to all their normal activities and more. Being able to walk, run, play sports etc again gives them a new lease of life.

If the surgeon thinks you are an appropriate candidate for partial knee surgery, have it. They work really well. You also have the reassurance of knowing that if something did go wrong (which hardly ever happens!) you still have the option of having a Total Knee Replacement (TKR) at a later date. It is much simpler to convert a Partial Knee to a Total Knee Replacement than have a repeat TKR.

Find Out More

Surgery: What actually happens during Partial Knee surgery
Recovery:
Including how successful surgery is and when you can return to activities
Problems and Risks:
A guide to the most common problems associated with partial knee surgery
Common Questions:
Answers to the most frequently asked questions after partial knee surgery
Partial vs Total Knee Replacements:
Compare the two to find out which surgery is right for you

Go to Knee Replacement Overview or Homepage


Your Comments

Share your knee pain experiences with others, whether it be ideas, top tips, things that worked well for you, problems you've had etc.......



© knee-pain-explained.com 2010-2014.
Updated 12th March 2014
All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions apply

Protected by Copyscape Online Copyright Search


KneePainExp

See Also

How long does it take to recover from a PKR?

FAQ's such as "How long do knee replacements last?"

How can I avoid surgery?

What is Arthritis?



Search This Site


Visitor Comments

“This is one of the best self-help & info sites of any medical condition I've ever seen. Excellent work.” Amy, UK

“Thanks to KPE.com. Lots of improvement after just two days.” Suresh, India

"This is the best self-help site I have ever seen for knee pain. It is very difficult to find such a comprehensive volume of information on one site without being advised to "Just purchase this product!" Many, many thanks" Jennifer, US

"Superb site, many thanks, so much helpful content especially the targeted strengthening exercises for me.” Gerri, UK

“Thank you so much, your response makes so much sense. Thank you again for your time in answering my questions.” Cynthia, US

"Your website is a gold mine, thank you very much."
Gavril, Denmark

"I LOVE your website. Out of all the others, yours is so informational and easy to read." Michelle, US

"This is the best site dealing with knee problems that I have come across. I will be putting the stretches and exercises into practise. Thank you!"
Margaret, S. Africa