Partial Knee Replacement

Partial knee replacement can be a great option for patients with knee arthritis, if the arthritis damage and pain is limited to one side of the knee. Partial knee replacements offer many benefits over total knee replacement, including an easier recovery.

When patients are a candidate for partial knee replacement, Dr. Linschoten strongly recommends this procedure over a total knee replacement due to the benefits in both the immediate recovery period and long-term. With over 27 years of experience in orthopaedic surgery, Dr. Linschoten has performed numerous joint replacement procedures and has seen great improvement in the technology used for partial knee replacements over the years. He has seen very positive results for his partial knee replacement patients by using Mako technology to complete the procedure.

Candidates for Partial Knee Replacement

Not every patient with knee arthritis is a candidate for knee replacement. The knee is divided into 3 sections, called compartments. In many patients, arthritis damage is present in multiple compartments of the knee. However, if arthritis is only present in one compartment of the knee, partial knee replacement may be an option.

When deciding whether or not the patient is a candidate for partial knee replacement, Dr. Linschoten considers several factors. Candidates for partial knee replacement must meet the following criteria:

  • Arthritis pain and damage is limited to a single compartment of the knee (the inner part of the knee is the most common).
  • There is little deformity present in the knee.
  • The patient must be healthy enough to have joint replacement surgery.

Benefits of Partial Knee Replacement

In the right patients, partial knee replacement can have many advantages over a total knee replacement. Benefits of a partial knee replacement include:

  • A more natural-feeling knee than a total knee replacement. Many patients report that total knee replacement implants feel artificial, even when the implant functions properly.
  • A quicker, easier recovery than total knee replacement. Only the damaged compartment of the knee is replaced, so recovery is typically easier on patients.
  • Long-term results are comparable to total knee replacements. Though partial knee replacement is a newer procedure than total knee replacement, the implants are intended to last as long as a total knee replacement.

Due to these benefits, if a patient is a candidate for partial knee replacement, Dr. Linschoten strongly recommends this option. He has seen great results in his patients, and the Mako technology has further improved upon results by allowing for greater accuracy and planning with implant placement.

Partial Knee Replacement Procedure

During a partial knee replacement, Dr. Linschoten removes cartilage and a small amount of bone from the damaged compartment of the knee. He then replaces the surface with metal implants and inserts a plastic spacer between the two metal components. The healthy compartments of the knee remain intact, which allows the patient to retain much of the natural feeling in the knee. In total, the procedure takes about an hour.

Dr. Linschoten uses Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology for partial knee replacements. The Mako software allows him to use a CT scan of the knee to create a 3D virtual model of the knee, which allows him to pre-plan the surgery. The Mako system also allows him to change the plan during surgery if needed, and gives him real-time feedback on those changes. This allows for great precision with the implant placement, leading to much better results for patients.

Recovering from Partial Knee Replacement

Some patients are able to return home the day of surgery after a partial knee replacement if desired, though many patients opt for an overnight hospital stay. The vast majority of patients return home the day after surgery. Due to an effective pain management plan, many patients have very little pain in recovery.

Physical therapy is an important part of the recovery process. Physical therapy helps improve strength and range of motion in the knee, leading to better results. Patients typically meet with a physical therapist in the hospital soon after surgery, and typically participate in outpatient physical therapy for about 2-3 weeks upon returning home. If a patient is unable to drive to physical therapy and does not have someone to drive them, in-home physical therapy can be arranged. Aside from participating in physical therapy, patients are advised to take it easy on the knee for about a month.

If the partial knee replacement was done on the left knee, patients are typically able to resume driving within a few days of surgery. If the procedure was done on the right knee, it may be as long as a month until patients are cleared to drive. The patient must first regain reflexes in the right knee before they are able to drive.

In the long term, patients do not have any major restrictions. Most patients are able to resume normal activities and lead an active life after a partial knee replacement. Partial knee replacements are intended to last for 20 years; only a small percentage of patients will need a total knee replacement in the future.

Partial Knee Replacement in Baton Rouge, LA

Dr. Niels Linschoten has over 27 years of experience as an orthopaedic surgeon. He is highly skilled in many different joint replacement techniques and approaches, including newer procedures like partial knee replacement. In the right patients, partial knee replacement can eliminate arthritis pain while allowing the healthy portions of the knee to remain intact. If you think you may be a candidate for partial knee replacement and would like to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Linschoten, please call our office at (225) 478-8722 or request an appointment online.