Our knees usually work so smoothly and so painlessly that we barely notice now often we use them throughout our lives, bending and moving them constantly to walk, run, hike, swim, ride a bike, and live our normal active lives. Unfortunately, injury, age, or any number of degenerative conditions can affect the knees, causing severe pain, limiting range of motion, and preventing us from living the lives we want to live. If non-surgical treatments are no longer effectively relieving the discomfort in your knee, it may be time to explore surgical options aimed at replacing part or all of the affected joint.

For individuals who are suffering from pain or degeneration in only one part of the knee, a partial knee replacement can be an effective, long-term solution that will allow return a fully active lifestyle. A partial knee replacement involves a small metal and polyethylene (plastic) prosthesis that is used to resurface only the portion of the knee that is damaged. During the surgery, Dr. Kaplan will resurface only those areas that are damaged and fit them exactly to the prosthesis. This precise, minimally invasive approach results in a rehabilitated knee that feels and acts more like your natural joint.

Advantages of Partial Knee Replacement

  • Less invasive procedure
  • Bone preservation
  • Quicker recovery
  • More normal feeling knee

Contraindications to Partial Knee Replacement

  • Arthritis in more than one isolated area of the knee joint
  • Obesity
  • Absence of Anterior Cruciate Ligament
  • Excessive preoperative knee joint contracture or deformity
  • Inflammatory Arthritis (Rheumatoid)

Partial Knee Replacement is not appropriate for all patients with knee arthritis. Only those patients with isolated arthritis in certain areas of the knee are good candidates for this procedure. One of the most common reasons for failure of a partial knee replacement, requiring revision surgery, is progression of arthritis in the remaining areas of the knee. For this reason, Dr. Kaplan will perform an extensive workup, including xrays and possibly an MRI to determine if you are an ideal Partial Knee Replacement candidate. The revision rate for a partial knee replacement can be high. It is therefore important that you choose a surgeon who will make the correct diagnosis and appropriate surgical decision along with you. Dr. Kaplan will work with you to give you the best surgical option for your individual knee condition.

Procedure and Recovery

Partial knee replacement is a minmally-invasive alternative to total knee replacement for individuals who have localized arthritis in only one area of the knee. During the procedure, Dr. Kaplan will make about a four-inch incision over the knee. The kneecap, ligaments, and tendons will be carefully and gently moved to allow access to the damaged area. Precise cut will be made to remove the damaged surface of the bone. The prosthesis is then precisely placed onto the bone and glued in place with bone cement. The ligaments, tendons, and kneecap are then allowed to resume their normal position and the incision is carefully closed.

Generally, most patients will experience less discomfort and faster recovery from a partial knee replacement than a traditional total knee replacement. Most patients only require a hospital stay of a day, while a few are able to leave the same day. Patients will be able to walk with minimal assistance within hours after the procedure. Dr. Kaplan has also employed the use of Tranexamic Acid in his patients. This revolutionary medication has been extensively studied in patients undergoing joint replacement surgery. It has been shown to significantly reduce post-operative swelling, bleeding and has virtually eliminated the need for blood transfusions after surgery. In addition, tranexamic acid has been shown to be very safe in the vast majority of patients. Tenderness and mild swelling are common post-operative side effects. The frequent use of icepacks and over-the-counter pain medication will be recommended. Patients who go to regular physical therapy and begin exercising the joint immediately can expect a full recovery within 2-4 weeks.

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