Partial Knee Replacement Surgery

Partial Knee replacement surgery is a type of knee replacement surgery where in rather then removing all part of knee bones only affected compartment articular surfaces are replaced by implants.

Your doctor may advice you a partial knee replacement surgery if your arthritis is confined to one area or compartment of knee joint.

Sometimes its called unicompartmental knee replacement surgery as well.

It is very successful surgical treatment option for treatment of part of tricompartmental osteoarthritis where in any one of the three compartment of knee joint is affected with knee arthritis.

Knee Joint Is divided into 3 compartments: Medial(inside part of knee) and Lateral(outside part of knee) tibio-femoral compartment, Patello-femoral compartment(Front of knee between knee cap and thigh bone)

Please see knee anatomy to understand your knee joint anatomy better.

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are many advantages for partial knee replacement surgery over complete knee joint replacement:

  • Faster recovery-When we compare knee replacement recovery time for total and partial, recovery is faster with partial option.
  • Less Pain after surgery- as it is less invasive surgery there is less pain following surgery.
  • less invasive
  • less blood loss
  • cost of knee replacement- when you compare cost especially for uninsured people it is roughly half the cost of total knee surgery.
  • more natural knee feeling- As we know in this surgical option only affected part is removed with remaining knee joint anatomy with articular cartilage left untouched, patients tell that it gives more natural feeling compared to total knee replacement surgery.

Disadvantages over total knee replacement:

  • expected pain relief is lesser compared to total replacement
  • more revision surgeries needed- IF there is no successful outcome of surgery or patient pain relief expectations have not been fulfilled then patient might have to go for total knee joint replacement.

X-ray of Partial Knee Replacement -
candidate selection

Good candidate

xray of partial knee replacement

Bad candidate

xray of partial knee replacement 1

Why Unicompartmental Surgery less compared to Total Knee ?

Having seen all this advantages you would be wondering why there are not that many partial knee replacement surgery done when in comparison to total knee joint replacement.

Let us see why it is not:

1. To have successful out come of this surgery you must not be very old patient.

Ideal candidate would be someone who is in their early fifties and not seventies.


You understand what I mean right.For those not to young patients in terms of knee pain and knee replacement age there is a good option in Total Knee Replacement surgery.

2. Its pretty rare that you will be having a unicompartmental arthritis and other parts of your knees are healthy.

3. Generally no patient would like to undergo surgical option of knee arthritis treatment! Would you if you do not have to?

That is the reason they delay the time in which they should go for partial knee replacement surgery by going for other alternative to knee replacement surgery.


Those alternatives include Exercises, Knee Support, Weight loss, and other wide spread therapies.

And we have to understand that arthritis is not a disease and its just an aging process so when you try all other alternative options you would have passed that right age for surgery and so you have to go for total knee replacement.

4.Let me say you have a wide spread knee arthritis and because of you have generalized arthritis knee pain then you would be better of with total knee replacement rather then partial.

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