A partial knee replacement surgery, also known as unicompartmental knee replacement, is a surgical procedure that can help relieve knee pain and restore function. During a partial knee replacement, only the damaged compartment of the knee joint is replaced or resurfaced with artificial materials, such as metal and plastic. 

Compared to a total knee replacement, a partial knee replacement procedure removes and replaces fewer structures in your knee, and the healthy cartilage and bone remain untouched.

Your knee joint is a hinge joint, and when damage to structures at or around a specific area of the hinge results in pain, you may need the joint partially replaced. A partial knee replacement will replace one compartment of your knee or knees. This will mean removing the inner (medial), outer (lateral), or middle (patellofemoral) portion of the end of your thighbone (femur) at the knee and replacing it with an implant. The damaged compartment of your shinbone (tibia) will also be removed and replaced. 

When Would a Partial Knee Replacement Be Appropriate for Me?

The primary symptom that leads to a partial knee replacement procedure is pain. If you are a candidate for a total knee replacement procedure, you may experience:

  • Knee pain at night that may keep you from sleeping
  • Knee pain while standing, walking, bending, or even while sitting or resting
  • Limited range of motion in your knee or knees or restricted mobility 

Typically, the pain is so severe it is unrelieved by conservative treatments, including over-the-counter medications, injections, or physical therapy.

To determine if a partial knee replacement surgery is the best treatment option for you, your orthopedic surgeon will perform an evaluation of your medical history as well as a physical examination, X-rays, and other tests, such as an MRI scan.

Following the evaluation, your surgeon will discuss whether a partial knee replacement is the best treatment for you, based on your needs, knee anatomy, overall health, and goals. Typically, younger patients or those with limited knee joint damage are appropriate candidates for this procedure. Your surgeon will explain any risks and complications associated with partial knee replacement procedures.

What Benefits Does Partial Knee Replacement Surgery Offer?

Following a partial knee replacement surgery, you can expect reduced knee pain and limitation. With your new knee component or resurfacing, the friction and degeneration of structures in your knee will be eliminated and your knee function will be restored. 

Because of incisions and adjustment to your knee prosthetic, you may experience some tightness and occasional aches postoperatively, but you should expect to return to your favorite activities with more mobility.

Why Choose Southern Indiana Orthopedics?

Our joint replacement doctors have extensive experience and training in specific joints and procedures. At Southern Indiana Orthopedics, you are in excellent hands with our partial knee replacement surgeons, Dr. Cary Guse and Dr. Matthew Lovell. Our partial knee replacement specialists are all board-certified in orthopedic surgery or fellowship-trained in advanced treatments and have the specialized knowledge and skills to treat your knee injury or condition individually to meet your needs. 

To consult with our Southern Indiana Orthopedics specialists about your treatment options, please request an appointment online or call (812) 376-9353. Our surgeons are available at our main location in Columbus and at our North Vernon, Seymour, or Greensburg outreach clinics.