Knee replacements are the most commonly performed joint replacement surgery today in the U.S. People who suffer from pain caused by osteoarthritis are the usual candidates for this surgery. Typically, in the past, the option for knee replacement was the removal of the entire knee joint, which was then replaced with an artificial joint prosthesis.
A majority of people – about 90 percent – who suffer from knee problems and get surgery do need a total knee replacement. But in some cases, patients can save the undamaged portions of a knee with a partial knee implant.
Ultimately, you should discuss the choices available with your doctor, who will take into account your lifestyle, age, and overall health to determine which type of knee replacement can offer you a better result. Let’s explore the differences between total and partial knee replacement.
Three distinct components are found in the knee: the medial or inside portion, the lateral or outside piece, and the patellofemoral or front section. Osteoarthritis causes degeneration of the connective articular cartilage found in the knee, often requiring surgery.
Total Knee Replacement
A full knee replacement is a larger surgery than a partial replacement. The time under anesthesia is greater, the amount of tissue replaced is larger, and the time to heal is longer.
How Total Replacement Works
During a total knee replacement surgery, the surgeon cuts away the damaged portion of the femur, shinbone, and kneecap and replaces it with an artificial joint prosthesis, which is composed of a metal alloy, polymers, and high-grade plastics.
Considerations of Total Replacement
The most common reason to replace the total joint is to relieve severe pain caused by osteoarthritis when walking, climbing stairs, and getting up from a seated position.
While the surgery and recovery times are longer, results are generally more lasting with a total knee replacement and require less need for revision surgery.
Partial Knee Replacement
In certain cases when only one or two parts of the knee have degenerated and cause pain, a partial knee replacement can be done to preserve the functional, pain-free part of the knee.
In the past, a partial knee replacement was reserved for patients who were over age 60, weighed less than 180 pounds, had minimal degeneration of portions in the knee, were less active, and still had a good range of motion. But today a larger number of younger people are being approved for partial knee replacement.
How Partial Replacement Works
During a partial replacement, the surgeon saves the still-healthy components of a knee and replaces the rest. The procedure takes less time, and healing is faster than with a typical full replacement.
Considerations of Partial Replacement
The biggest disadvantage of a partial procedure is that future revision surgery is more likely than with a full replacement. Because parts of the patient’s original knee are reused, the patient can still suffer from tears in the meniscus and progressive effects of arthritis in the remaining natural parts.
While it seems far more appealing to get a smaller surgery instead of a larger procedure, the surgeon’s opinion of the potential outcome is the greatest deciding factor on which type of surgery is better for a patient.
Complete Knee Care in Wooster, Ohio
If you suffer from severe knee pain, contact Bloomington Orthopedic Specialists to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified orthopedic surgeons.
Our physicians can help you determine if a total or partial knee replacement is right for you. Call us at (330) 202-3420 or request an appointment online today.