A Brief Overview Of The Unicompartmental Knee Replacement Procedure

November 12, 2012

A Brief Overview Of The Unicompartmental Knee Replacement Procedure

Unicompartmental knee replacement is designed for people who have problems in only one section of the knee and will leave the remainder of the knee alone.

The key reason to undergoing knee replacement surgery is to lessen the amount of pain a person has and to restore the knee’s function. While a complete knee replacement is needed for osteoarthritis patient sufferers, there are several other surgical choices available. And, any patient who has osteoarthritis in one knee could be a candidate for a unicompartmental knee replacement, which is also known as a partial knee replacement.

A Look At Unicompartmental Knee Replacement

A minute percentage of osteoarthritis sufferers may choose the unicompartmental knee replacement as their option, and doctors may recommend it if the arthritis is located in one section of the knee. Keep in mind that the knee is divided into three key sections:

  • Medial compartment (inside)

  • Lateral compartment (outside)

  • Patellofemoral compartment (front)

During this kind of replacement, the only part replaced with plastic and metal is the damage compartment. Any healthy bone or cartilage in the knee remains.

Several Benefits Of The Unicompartmental Knee Replacement

There are several advantages of undergoing the unicompartmental knee replacement, which has shown to perform well in most patients, including:

  1. Reduced blood loss

  2. Less pain after the surgery

  3. Recovery is quicker

The majority of patients have reported that the unicompartmental knee replacement is much natural than the complete knee replacement… perhaps because the healthy sections of the knee are still kept.

Unicompartmental Knee Replacement Disadvantages

Just as there are benefits, they are also some disadvantages of undergoing this procedure including:

  • Pain relief is less predictable

  • Possibility for additional surgery

Surgical Candidates For Unicompartmental Knee Replacement

The recommendations for this surgery are done by your doctor. He/she will determine if you have an advanced case of osteoarthritis or if you already used the non-surgical treatment options with no positive effects. The only time surgery should be even considered is if your knee is affecting your life and hindering your normal activities. Thus, to qualify, your arthritis will need to be limited to just one part of your knee. This means any person with the following conditions may not qualify:

  • Inflammatory arthritis

  • Ligament damage

  • Significant knee stiffness

How Does Your Doctor Determine Unicompartmental Knee Replacement

Your doctor is going to go through your medical history, do a medical examination and have you undergo an imaging test to determine if you can benefit from unicompartmental knee replacement.

The Risks Of Undergoing The Unicompartmental Knee Replacement

If your doctor agrees that you qualify for the unicompartmental knee replacement, you’ll be admitted into the hospital the day you have the surgery. The surgery itself will last up to 2 hours, barring any complications. What kinds of complications might you experience?

  1. Infections – Your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics before the surgery starts and for a day afterwards.

  2. Blood clots – Blood clots that are in the leg vein are quite common.

  3. Injury in the vessels and nerves can possibly occur.

  4. Anesthesia risks

  5. Continuous pain

Since you’re only getting a partial knee replacement, the incision is much smaller, which means a short hospitalization and rehabilitation stay. And, a quicker return to normal activities!

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