Partial knee replacement surgery has been around since the 1970s but has gained popularity in the last 5 years with improved implants and improved surgical techniques. Partial knee replacement surgery resurfaces only one third of the knee joint. This is typically done for the inner part of the knee but can also be done for the outer part of the knee. Approximately 20% of patients who come in with osteoarthritis are candidates for partial knee replacement surgery. Partial knee replacement surgery has advantages and disadvantages when compared to full knee replacement surgery.
Less medical complications
Shorter hospital stay
Feels more like a normal knee after recovery
Better range of motion of the knee
Leaves 2/3 of the knee alone
Higher risk of needing another operation in the future
I use the Mako Robot to perform partial knee replacements. This system allows me to get a CT scan of your knee prior to surgery and create a 3D model of your knee. The implants are put into the 3D model and I can plan very precisely where to put the implants in order to optimize your result. In the operating room the pre-operative plan can be fine tuned to make sure that your ligaments are properly tensioned. The implants are then put in very precisely using a robotic arm. Surgery takes between 1 and 1 ½ hours and we typically get you up and walking the same day as your surgery. Most patients that have partial knee replacement surgery are discharged from the hospital the morning after their surgery and go home using a cane. The average person uses the cane for 2 weeks. Most people can be back at work in 1 – 2 weeks. You need to do physical therapy for the first 6 weeks, but typically by 6 weeks after surgery people are about 80% recovered and are back to all routine activities. Full recovery takes approximately 3 months. Partial knee replacement surgery leaves the ligaments and the remaining 2/3 of the knee alone. Failure of partial knee replacements is due to either loosening of the implants or progression of arthritis in other areas of the knee. National registries have shown that approximately 1 in 10 patients who undergo partial knee replacement surgery will need another operation within 10 years of their initial surgery. This is higher when the surgery is done by a surgeon who does not do partial knee replacements frequently and is lower when done by surgeons with a high volume of experience with partial knee replacements. Partial knee replacement surgery is a technically more demanding operation than a full knee replacement and many surgeons who perform full knee replacement surgery do not perform partial knee replacement surgery.