You Have Options For Knee Pain
Chronic, severe knee pain greatly affects your everyday life. Walking can hurt so much that you may avoid exercise and recreational activities. The pain may even keep you up at night. Your doctor may have discussed knee replacement surgery with you, or you may be avoiding going to the doctor for your knee pain because you fear surgery. The good news is you have options. Knee surgery technology has improved by leaps and bounds. There is an alternative to total knee replacement – a partial knee replacement. Because not all surgeons offer partial knee replacement, it’s important for patients to be educated about their options. Partial knee replacement has many benefits, including a shorter recovery time and a more natural feeling knee. In the past, even if you only had damage in one part of your knee, total knee replacement was your only option. Technological advances such as 3-D magnetic resonance imaging, robotic assistance and computer navigation have changed that – making partial knee replacement surgery the best choice for many patients. I use the Oxford® Partial Knee, a widely used and clinically proven prosthesis, because the moveable plastic bearings have demonstrated low wear rates. This partial knee can last up to 30 years, providing many patients a good long-term solution.
The difference between full and partial knee replacementThe knee is made up of bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons. It has three compartments: one inside the joint, one on the outside and one behind the kneecap. In full knee replacement surgery, the entire knee joint is removed and replaced with a prosthesis. If your knee pain is being caused by damage in only one compartment, you could be a candidate for partial knee replacement surgery. In a partial knee replacement, only the damaged part of the knee is replaced with plastic and metal components. The ligament connecting the thigh and femur bones is left intact, and more nerve pathways are left undamaged.
The benefits of partial knee replacementBenefits of partial knee replacement surgery include:
- Feels more like a natural knee.
- Less pain and blood loss.
- Smaller scar.
- Quicker recovery time: patients who undergo partial knee replacement recover in half the time as those who have full knee replacements.
- More likely to be performed as an outpatient or “same day” procedure. This means the patient returns home after the surgery rather than staying overnight at the hospital. An outpatient surgery usually costs less and it reduces the risk of hospital-acquired infections.
- Less likely to have residual symptoms. Up to one third of patients who have full knee replacements continue to experience some symptoms like pain and stiffness. That rate is much lower for people who partial knee replacement. Less than ten percent have residual symptoms.
Who is a candidate for partial knee surgery?Patients with arthritis or osteoarthritis are great candidates for a partial knee replacement surgery. Technological advances mean partial knee surgery can be performed on both older patients and young, active patients. There are some factors that influence whether or not you are a candidate for partial knee replacement. To be a candidate you must have:
- Damage to only one compartment of the knee
- Key ligaments are intact
- Sufficient range of motion
- Overall knee stability