Learn more about partial knee replacements at King Edward VII’s Hospital
Why would I need partial knee replacement surgery?
People who require a partial knee replacement need one because part of the knee joint is damaged, worn or diseased so much that it causes pain and discomfort, even when resting. If you have reduced mobility in your knee, you may also require a partial knee replacement.
The most common reason for patients needing a partial knee replacement is osteoarthritis. Injury to the knee, knee deformity and unusual bone growth within the knee all might mean that you need a partial knee replacement.
What symptoms does partial knee replacement surgery address?
Most people having partial knee replacement surgery do so because their pain is interfering with the quality and enjoyment of their life and other, non-surgical measures haven’t helped.
When should you speak to your specialist about partial knee replacement surgery?
If you’re experiencing a lot of knee pain that makes it difficult to get about or perform your everyday activities, then you should speak to your GP or specialist about knee surgery. Depending on your circumstances, you may be suitable for a partial or full knee replacement.
How is partial knee replacement surgery performed?
Partial knee replacement surgery takes approximately one hour and you may either be under a general anaesthetic or have an epidural that numbs your body from the waist down.
Your surgeon will make a small incision in your knee and remove the damaged area of knee before replacing it with an artificial part and fixing it into place.
What is the recovery like for partial knee replacement surgery?
Your recovery from partial knee replacement surgery will depend on multiple factors, including your age, fitness level and the nature of your procedure.
Immediately after surgery, your nursing and physiotherapy team will help you out of bed and onto your feet. You will normally be given crutches or a walking frame to help you and you may feel some initial pain and discomfort.
Your medical team will also give you advice that will help you best recover, based on advice from your surgeon. This includes when you can put weight on your knee, when your stitches should be removed or dissolved by and when your dressings should come off.
Most patients are able to leave hospital on the same day or a after a one night stay. Most can walk unaided within about a week. You will also be advised how long you may need off work and resting from your normal activities. This is usually around six weeks.
As your recovery continues, you will work with a physiotherapist on different exercises that will help with your knee’s strength and mobility.
Are there any risks/complications associated with partial knee replacement surgery?
As with any medical procedure, it’s possible for risks or complications to arise. Speaking with your specialist or surgeon beforehand will help you avoid any adverse reactions.
Partial knee replacement surgery has a relatively low risk of serious complications, but the following risks and complications can occur in a small number of cases:
- An infection in the surgical wound
- Bleeding inside the knee joint
- Excess bone developing around the new knee joint
- Excess scar tissue formation
- A blood clot called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Nerve damage
How can I prepare for partial knee replacement surgery?
Prior to partial knee replacement surgery, your surgeon will discuss with you how best to prepare, as each patient is different with differing needs.
Common preparations for partial knee replacement surgery include:
- Routine blood tests, x rays or scans as requested by your surgeon
- Taking steps to stop smoking if you smoke
- Losing weight if you’re overweight
- Remaining active and doing regular exercise