Learn more about partial knee resurfacing at King Edward VII’s Hospital
We know living with knee pain can be painful experience that stops you doing the things you love. Here you can find out more about our London knee resurfacing specialists and find out if this treatment is the right option for you. On this page King Edward VII’s Hospital London partial knee resurfacing consultants answer your questions about the procedure.
If you choose to have your treatment with us you can be rest assured you’ll receive the best possible care. As part of our wrap around care before, during and after you knee replacement you’ll be able to access Joint School where you’ll have dedicated 1 on 1 time with a team of clinical nurse specialists and physiotherapist. This dedicated service will give you the ability to get personalised advice to enhance your healing journey and get back to feeling like yourself again quicker. Find out more.
Partial knee resurfacing is a surgical procedure carried out to replace the worn surface(s) of one or two of the bones within the knee joint with plastic and metal prostheses. There are three areas within the knee joint that can require treatment – the medial, or inner knee joint, the lateral, or outer joint and the patellofemoral, or kneecap, joint. Where your pain is felt, will determine which bone(s) need treatment.
A partial knee resurfacing procedure preserves the unaffected bones and the surrounding ligaments and other soft tissues that would otherwise be lost during an older style knee replacement operation.
This type of surgery is less invasive than both a full knee replacement and a full knee resurfacing procedure, and therefore results in a speedier recovery and a better, more natural, range of movement within the knee.
Why would I need partial knee resurfacing surgery?
Most patients requiring this type of surgery need it because they have begun to develop pain, discomfort and mobility problems within the knee joint caused by early ‘wear and tear’ to the joint.
Some patients notice that their knee isn’t as mobile as it used to be, particularly during exercise, which may be an early sign of arthritis and require them to have this type of surgery to prevent the problems becoming worse.
What symptoms does partial knee resurfacing surgery address?
Surgery to partially resurface the knee helps to reduce pain in the area and restore freedom of movement. It can also help you get back to your regular sporting activities and improve your overall quality of life. It’s less invasive than a full knee resurfacing procedure and leaves the unaffected bones within the knee joint intact.
When should you speak to your specialist about partial knee resurfacing surgery?
If you’re experiencing knee pain, stiffness and immobility, speak to your doctor about a referral for partial knee resurfacing surgery to help improve your symptoms.
How is partial knee resurfacing surgery performed?
Partial knee resurfacing surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic and normally takes around an hour and a half. Most patients require a couple of days in hospital following surgery.
During surgery, your surgeon will smooth out areas of wear and tear on the affected bone(s), including any bone spurs, and resurface the bone using stainless steel and/or a type of surgical grade plastic called high density polyethylene. They will then close your wound with surgical stitches and bandage your leg.
What is the recovery like for partial knee resurfacing surgery?
Your recovery from partial knee resurfacing surgery will depend on multiple factors, including your age, fitness level and the nature of your procedure and your general level of health.
You will be provided with pain relief and your physiotherapy team will encourage you to bend and move your knee and be fully weightbearing within a day of surgery to help minimise swelling and support your full recovery.
You can expect some pain and discomfort in your knee for a few days or weeks following surgery, and this can be managed with painkillers. Any swelling can also be helped by using ice packs. Your medical team will provide you with crutches and advise you how long you should use them for.
Depending on your job and activity level, you can expect to be making progress towards walking and moving normally within six weeks.
Your surgeon will discuss the recovery process with you and recommend the best course of action for your recovery period.
Are there any risks/complications associated with partial knee resurfacing 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 resurfacing surgery has a relatively low risk of serious complications, but the following risks and complications can occur in a small number of cases:
• Wound infection
• Stiffness and an inability to fully bend your knee
• Failure of the procedure
• Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
• Damage to the surrounding nerves and blood vessels
How can I prepare for partial knee resurfacing surgery?
Prior to partial knee resurfacing surgery, your surgeon will discuss with you how best to prepare, as each patient is different with differing needs. It’s advisable to learn as much as you can about your procedure beforehand and discuss any concerns with your surgeon.
Common preparations for surgery include a general health assessment and routine blood tests, x rays or scans as requested by your surgeon.
A good level of general wellbeing will prepare you for a better outcome after surgery so it’s recommended that you eat healthily, exercise regularly if possible and cut back on smoking and drinking.
Prepare your home prior to surgery so that you’re comfortable whilst you’re recovering and plan to have someone take you home from hospital. Your specialist will discuss any specific preparations that you should make prior to surgery.
Are there alternatives for partial knee resurfacing surgery?
If the bones within your knee joint are all affected by wear and tear, your surgeon may recommend a full knee resurfacing procedure.
Your specialist will be able to discuss alternative procedures with you, depending on your circumstances.