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A partial knee replacement is a surgery that may be considered for treatment of severe arthritis of the knee.

Traditionally, patients have undergone total knee replacements and a metal or plastic implant was placed. Today, with innovative technology, total knee replacement is not necessary any longer and a partial knee replacement is performed instead.

What is partial knee replacement?

Partial knee replacement is also known as the Oxford Knee. The knee is composed of three separate compartments, and if only one compartment is damaged, partial knee replacement can be performed.

Your surgeon will determine if you are a good candidate for this kind of surgery, or if you need a total replacement.

The idea of this surgery is to replace only the part of the joint that is damaged and to leave the other healthy parts intact. The replacement can occur in the lateral (external) or the medial (internal) part of the knee.

Patients who are good candidates for this kind of surgery have to be older than 55, not obese and lead a relatively a sedentary life.

In many cases the arthritis is widespread and the partial knee replacement is not possible. The damage to the cartilages of the joints are so severe that this kind of surgery cannot be performed. In this case a total knee replaces is recommended.

If partial knee replacement is performed for someone who is a poor candidate, the risk of failure is high. In this case a conversion to a total knee replacement is necessary.

Total or regional anesthesia is used.

Which are the risks of partial knee replacement?

The risks of partial knee replacement are:

  • Failure of the procedure
  • Fluid build-up in your knee
  • Blood clots
  • Nerve and blood vessel damage
  • Pain with kneeling
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy

Which are the advantages of partial knee replacement?

This procedure is a minimally invasive surgery. The advantages are:

  • Faster recovery time
  • Smaller incision
  • Less blood loss
  • Less pain
  • More natural motion

What to expect after surgery?

The recovery time after this surgery is faster than for a total knee replacement. It varies, but you will usually be able to walk, drive and do all the things you did before two to three weeks after surgery.

Consult with your doctor, because damage at this stage can lead to serious problems, causing the surgery to fail.

You will need physical therapy for four to six months after the surgery. Your doctor will probably also prescribe analgesics, because you will have mild to moderate pain during your recovery time.

These implants were shown to have a high success rate with results of 95% at 15 years and beyond.

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