Surgical Options for Knee Replacement

If your knee doesn’t respond to treatments and medications, you may want to consider knee replacement surgery.

There are two main types of knee surgeries, including partial knee replacement and total knee replacement. Total knee replacement is the most common of the two, comprising more than 90 percent of procedures.

Total Knee Replacement

This method for repairing damaged knees is considered the traditional method. Since the first operation was performed in 1968, doctors have been able to drastically improve the procedure.

Advancements have made this procedure much more effective over the years, culminating in a safe and relatively painless orthopedic surgery.

During this procedure, the surgeon removes the surface of all of the bones that have been damaged by osteoarthritis or other causes, replacing the knee with an implant that’s designed to fit your specific anatomy.

Then a surgeon uses specialized instruments to cut away all arthritic bone with maximum accuracy, shaping the healthy bone beneath to fit with the implant.

Despite it being the safest of all orthopedic surgeries, there are risks that you should keep in mind. First, the procedure could cause an infection that results in additional surgery, continued knee instability and pain, or even blood clots that could lead to stroke or death in rare cases.

Patients also require an extended rehabilitation period and home planning to accommodate for recovery. Plan on using a walker, cane, or crutches following surgery.

On the other hand, the complications surrounding TKR are rare, with 95 percent of patients reporting that they are satisfied with the final outcome.

Partial Knee Replacement

This procedure is also sometimes referred to as a uni-compartmental knee replacement, as an option for a small percentage of individuals.

Less than ten percent of knee surgeries performed in the U.S. are partial knee replacements, which is mostly due to the fact that a vast majority of people in need of knee replacement surgery has more severe osteoarthritis.

Patients who require partial knee replacement typically only have osteoarthritis in one compartment of the knee.

During this procedure, a surgeon removes only the arthritic portion of the knee, replacing it with metal and plastic parts. Some of the advantages of this include shorter hospital stays, faster recovery and rehabilitation, decreased pain following surgery, and less blood loss and trauma.

However, pain may not be fully eliminated with PKR, and the preserved bone’s susceptibility to arthritis in the future may result in future surgeries.

The conditions surrounding partial knee surgery makes this procedure more ideal for younger people who aren’t as susceptible to arthritis, with plenty of healthy bone remaining.

It’s also better for people who lead a more active lifestyle and may require a follow-up procedure, including TKR, within 20 years or so once the first transplant wears out.

Discuss with a Medical Professional to Determine What’s Right for You

If you’re unsure about whether to get a total or partial knee replacement, you can discuss it with your doctor or other medical professional to determine which procedure is most ideal.