Partial Knee Replacement Overview

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Dr. Robert D’Agostini, orthopedic surgeon at Tri-County Orthopedics, describes partial knee replacement and postoperative instructions.

Dr. D'Agostini: I'm Dr. Bob D'Agostini, an orthopedic surgeon at Tri-County Orthopedics. I have special interest in joint replacements, sports medicine, but a particular interest in partial knee replacement. I can be seen in my office in Bedminster or in my office in Cedar Knolls.

In partial knee replacement, the surgeon replaces only the diseased portion of the joint. This is contrasting to a total knee replacement where all the surfaces are replaced. Partial knee replacement is there for a less destructive operation to the normal anatomy with fewer complications and faster recovery. Partial knee replacement is used to repair arthritic knee joints. Only the portion of the joint that has been disturbed by the arthritic condition is replaced.

The ideal candidate for partial knee replacement is a person whose disease is confined to one portion of the joint and if his knee is stable. A major advantage of partial knee replacement is that it mimics the normal kinematics of the knee. That means that the knee feels, moves, and functions more like a normal knee rather than the artificial feeling that a total knee often gives to the patient.

Partial knee replacement is also a great advantage because the rate of complications is much less. Infections are less common, blood clots are less common, and the procedure can frequently be done on an outpatient basis, sparing the need for hospitalization, therefore reducing your risks of all the bad things that can happen to you while you're in a hospital.

After partial knee replacements, the patient can expect a period of rehabilitation that lasts 6 – 12 weeks. At the end of that period, they should have a knee that feels and functions almost like a normal knee.

After partial knee replacement, the patient would be encouraged to work as hard as they can on their own behalf. They'll work with physical therapist, but I also expect the patient to work on their own daily for a 6 – 12 week period at which they should have their life back and a knee they're happy with.