Knee replacement surgery is not an uncommon procedure. In the United States alone, hundreds of thousands of people undergo at least one knee replacement each year.
Knee replacement is typically considered for patients with chronic pain and/or mobility problems – frequently due to arthritis, but potentially for other conditions as well.
For most knee replacement candidates, conservative forms of management and relief just don’t work anymore. More conservative measures might have been more effective in the past, but the knee can eventually reach a point of degradation that only surgery can significantly improve.
We will discuss the differences between partial and total knee replacement here, but you may certainly have further questions about your options. Please don’t hesitate to contact us and schedule a consultation – we’ll be happy to speak with you directly!
Partial Knee Replacement vs. Total Knee Replacement
The goals of both partial and total knee replacement procedures are the same: to improve a patient’s quality of life by relieving chronic pain and restoring and/or maintaining mobility. This is done with the use of prosthetics to replace parts of the knee.
Whether the procedure is “partial” or “total” depends upon the extent of damage to the knee joint.
The knee is divided into three sections:
- The lateral compartment (outer side of the knee)
- The medial compartment (inner side of the knee)
- The patellofemoral compartment (the front of the knee, where your kneecap is)
If only one section of the knee is affected by arthritis or other damage, a partial knee replacement may be considered to replace only that section. Otherwise, a total knee replacement may be in order.
As you might expect, a partial knee replacement will preserve more of the original organic elements of the knee. Depending on the severity and extent of damage, however, that is not always necessarily desired.
A total knee replacement, for example, will remove more of the ligaments of the knee. However, both procedures will likely involve rebalancing remaining ligaments around the joint to improve stability, addressing any excess stretching or tightening of the ligaments that might have occurred over time.