Our knees gradually wear down and become more vulnerable to injury and chronic conditions as we age. When you have degenerative joint disease, your knees become increasingly weak and unable to hold your weight, preventing you from the physical activities you once enjoyed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 32.5 million American adults have osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis. With this condition, the cartilage that lines joints like your knees breaks down. This results in severe pain as your bones rub against each other. If left untreated, osteoarthritis can limit your movement and lead to deformity. Fortunately, you have options like partial knee replacement to relieve the pain and help you get back on your feet.
What’s a Partial Knee Replacement?
When OA has progressed only to a section in your knee, partial knee replacement is one of the procedures you can consider with your provider. Instead of replacing all parts of the knee with an artificial joint, your doctor only takes out the damaged part of your knee. The diseased parts are replaced with an implant while the rest of the healthy tissue and bone in your knee are preserved.
In contrast with a total knee replacement, partial knee replacement requires a smaller incision, effectively cutting recovery time while reducing pain and blood loss. Aside from the traditional way of performing this procedure, your doctor may perform a robotic partial knee replacement with MAKOplasty® instead.
You can usually start moving your knee after surgery. To kickstart your recovery, you have to go through physical therapy to get used to your new joint and take medication to prevent blood clots.
In about six to eight weeks, expect to get back to full activity, minus high-impact exercises like running and jogging.
Are You An Ideal Candidate for Partial Knee Replacement?
Below are the factors you and your doctor should consider to find out if you are a candidate for the procedure.
OA Is Limited to One or Two Parts of Your Knee
If your osteoarthritis has only advanced to one to two sections out of the three compartments of your knee, you may be eligible for partial knee replacement.
Your doctor will also evaluate the severity of your OA because this procedure is not ideal for those with major deformity or damage. They will also check if your ligaments are stable and if you have good range of motion. Otherwise, partial knee replacement may not be for you.
Conservative Methods Cannot Address Your Knee Pain or OA
Your doctor can recommend partial knee replacement if you have severe but not advanced OA, the pain prevents you from carrying out essential activities, and nonsurgical options don’t work anymore. Some of these options include:
- Pain and anti-inflammatory drugs
- Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate
- Cortisone injections
- Viscosupplemental injections
- Physical therapy
- Assistive devices
- Weight loss
- Limiting painful and strenuous activities
Your doctor will confirm if you need the surgical procedure through an imaging test like an X-ray. Keep in mind that partial knee replacement remains only on the table if the damage to your knee is confined to a specific compartment (medial or lateral) and your knee is in an overall stable condition.
Age Is Also Considered
One of the biggest myths about knee replacement is that it is exclusively performed for patients who are over 60 and live sedentary lifestyles. Although older adults tend to get this surgery more often, people of all ages can be good candidates for this procedure. Younger individuals whose knee joint is affected by an accident or degenerative disease can also explore this treatment option, as long as they fit the criteria mentioned above.
Knee Replacement Specialists in North Dakota
If you want to check if partial knee replacement is right for you, visit our team at The Bone & Joint Center in North Dakota for unparalleled orthopedic care and expertise.
The Bone & Joint Center has been providing general and specialized orthopedic care to our patients since 1974. With offices conveniently located across the state, our board-certified and fellowship-trained doctors stand ready to diagnose and treat a wide range of orthopedic conditions and get you on the path to recovery.
To schedule an appointment, call (800) 424-2663 or request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you and being your go-to orthopedic care partner!