Partial vs. Total Knee Replacements: Which Is Right For Me?

Partial vs. Total Knee Replacements: Which Is Right For Me? post

Knee replacement is a joint surgery that addresses injuries by removing damaged pieces and replacing them with artificial parts. There are two forms of this surgery: partial and total knee placement. Discover the differences between the two and which one is best for you before reaching out to Orthopaedic Medical Group of Tampa Bay for a consultation on joint replacement surgery near you.

Knee Joint Anatomy: The Basics

To determine whether you need a partial or total knee replacement, you need to understand the parts of your knee that may be affected by your injury. The knee is segmented into three sections:

  • Medial (inside part of the knee)
  • Lateral (outside part of the knee)
  • Patellofemoral (underneath the kneecap)

If only one of these areas are affected, then a partial replacement may be an acceptable surgical option. It is very rare to have isolated arthritis in only one compartment, therefore partial knee replacement is not a widely indicated procedure. Damage to two or more of these areas may require a total knee replacement. Total knee replacement is far more common as patients typically have multiple compartments of the knee that contain arthritic changes. Learn more about the qualifications and risks associated with joint replacement to see if this procedure is right for you.

When Is a Total Knee Replacement Necessary?

In any situation where two or more areas of the knee sustain damage, a total replacement will be needed. During this procedure, the remaining cartilage and underlying bone are removed and replaced with metal and plastic components, or prostheses. These carefully crafted pieces are designed to decrease pain and restore movement and functionality for many years.

As soon as the anesthesia wears off, recovery begins. Recovery from joint replacement surgery involves regaining mobility through exercises guided by physical therapy and walking. The objective is to maintain frequent movement to restore your body to its original function.

Can I Get By With a Partial Knee Replacement?

The need for partial knee replacement may be difficult to determine from the outside, but a practitioner can easily use X-rays and other diagnostic tools to obtain a detailed overview of the state of your injury. If the results show that only one area is affected, then your surgeon may suggest a partial replacement.

The treatment process for a partial replacement is identical to that of a total replacement, just with fewer artificial parts.

With a partial replacement, taking the steps to proper recovery is still crucial. Basic activities like walking will feel easy again from 3 to 6 weeks after surgery, while more intensive activities like riding a bike will take 8 to 12 weeks (about 3 months). These timeframes are the most realistic when paired with routine exercises.

Partial knee replacement surgery is in most cases indicated for young patients who are still highly active but are unable to complete daily activities due to pain. Ultimately, many patients who undergo partial knee replacement surgery may require total knee replacement surgery later in life as arthritis wears away the other compartments of the knee.

Tips For Preparing For Knee Replacement Surgery

Your recovery time is dependent on the amount of activity you can do before surgery. If you can walk or ride a stationary bike leading up to surgery, it is encouraged to do so to expedite your recovery. On the other hand, if your pain before surgery is severe and you are unable to participate in exercise, it may be more challenging for you to return to these activities shortly after surgery. At Orthopaedic Medical Group we aim to prepare you for surgery with low-impact exercises to complete during the surgical scheduling period. At the time of booking, we will discuss these exercises, and other lifestyle choices to promote easier recovery after surgery. What you do during these weeks can ultimately determine your recovery time.

Meet Your Local Knee Surgeons at Orthopaedic Medical Group of Tampa Bay

At Orthopaedic Medical Group of Tampa Bay, our skilled and talented knee surgeons can guide you through a successful procedure and recovery. Schedule your knee replacement surgery today to get started with a consultation.

By: Orthopaedic Medical Group of Tampa Bay