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Is Partial Knee Replacement an Option for You?

If you’ve been told that you’re not a candidate for knee replacement surgery, but are still suffering from chronic knee pain, a partial knee replacement may be an option for you.


Many orthopedic surgeons don’t readily recommend this procedure, simply because most aren’t able to perform it. But, as a hip and knee specialist, Dr. Hill is able to offer partial knee replacements as an option.

The Partial Knee Replacement Procedure

A partial knee replacement focuses on one “compartment” of the knee. The knee is generally divided into three compartments:

  1. The medial (the inside part of the knee)

  2. The lateral (the outside)

  3. The patellofemoral (the joint between the kneecap and the thighbone)

Patients with significant wear in two or more compartments are often treated with total knee replacement. However,  knee pain sufferers who have wear confined primarily to one compartment may be candidates for a partial (also known as a unicompartmental) knee replacement. The compartment that tends to receive the most wear and therefore the focus of a partial knee replacement is the medial.

  • Hospital Stay: With a partial knee replacement, your hospital stay is generally shorter, but plan on spending at least one night for observation and pain management.

  • Recovery Time: Partial knee replacement is still major surgery. It will take months to fully recover, but by following a routine of gradually increasing activity combined with rest and physical therapy, you should be back to normal activities with less pain in 4-6 weeks.

  • Other Notes: Advantages of partial knee replacement compared to total knee replacement include smaller incision, faster recovery, better post-operative range of motion, shorter hospital stay, less blood loss, lower risk of infection, stiffness, and blood clots.

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