Unicompartmental (partial) Knee Replacement

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Evolution of Unicompartmental (partial) Knee Replacement

Partial knee replacement components are designed and manufactured by many different companies in the United States and throughout the world. These implants are unique in that only one area or compartment of the knee is replaced, and are either a fixed bearing ( the plastic is locked into place) polyethylene( “poly” or plastic) or a mobile bearing, meaning that plastic moves with your knee joint movement. All currently utilized partial knee replacement components have a long track record of success and have been thoroughly tested and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Currently the most common materials used for components are various metal alloys to include titanium and cobalt-chrome, as well as high grade molecular weight polyethylene or poly.

There are various implants that may be used to replace or resurface any of the three compartments within the knee, the inside part, outside part, or the knee cap joint, depending on which area has been found to have damaged cartilage and become symptomatic for the individual patient. Which component or compartment of the knee that is to be resurfaced for an individual patient must be determined prior to surgery with a conversation between the patient and his or her surgeon, with various xrays or even MRI’s confirming. Unicompartmental knee replacement has been shown to be an effective treatment for patient’s who meet the correct indications for surgery with a greater than 90% success rate and survivorship of implants at 12- 15 years post-operatively.

A discussion on what’s best for you or your loved with your surgeon is important, as not all patients are candidates for partial knee replacement. It should be well understood that overall success for pain relief and increased function are excellent for partial knee replacement, in general survivorship, or how long a partial knee replacement lasts compared to a total knee replacement, is generally less. Therefore, revision surgeries may be necessary earlier or more often with partial knee replacement.

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