The goal of knee replacement surgery is to decrease pain and restore function. Although total knee replacement (also called "arthroplasty") is an excellent option for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, other surgical options exist. Patients with osteoarthritis that is limited to just one part of the knee may be candidates for unicompartmental knee replacement (also called a "partial" knee replacement).
Unicondylar Knee Replacement simply means that only a part of the knee joint is replaced through a smaller incision than would normally be used for a total knee replacement.Unicompartmental knee replacement is an option for a small percentage of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Your doctor may recommend partial knee replacement if your arthritis is confined to a single part (compartment) of your knee. Your knee is divided into three major compartments: The medial compartment (the inside part of the knee), the lateral compartment (the outside part), and the patellofemoral compartment (the front of the knee between the kneecap and thighbone).
In a unicompartmental knee replacement, only the damaged compartment is replaced with metal and plastic. The healthy cartilage and bone in the rest of the knee is left alone.
Multiple studies have shown that modern unicompartmental knee replacement performs very well in the vast majority of patients who are appropriate candidates.The advantages of partial knee replacement over total knee replacement include:
1. Quicker recovery
2. Less pain after surgery
3. Less blood loss
Surgical—Some injuries require more aggressive treatment. You may need steroids if the spinal cord is injured. You may need surgery if you have an unstable burst fracture, flexion-distraction injury or fracture-dislocation. Surgery realigns the spinal column and holds it together using metal plates and screws (internal fixation) and/or spinal fusion.
1. A direct blow to the rib, otherwise known as blunt chest trauma
2. Crushing of the chest—in minor cases this can occur in contact sports or in major cases this occurs in a car accident
3. Severe coughing incidents that can occur with lung problems or at high altitude Signs and Symptoms
Also, because the bone, cartilage, and ligaments in the healthy parts of the knee are kept, most patients report that a unicompartmental knee replacement feels more "natural" than a total knee replacement. A unicompartmental knee may also bend better.
The disadvantages of partial knee replacement compared with total knee replacement include slightly less predictable pain relief, and the potential need for more surgery.
For example, a total knee replacement may be necessary in the future if arthritis develops in the parts of the knee that have not been replaced.