Knee replacement surgery is mainly to decrease pain and restore function. Knee replacement is of course an option but other surgical options also exists.
Uni-compartmental knee replacement:
For very few patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, Uni-compartmental knee replacement is suggested. If the arthritis is confined to a single part of the knee, the doctor may recommend partial knee replacement.
The knee is classified into three major parts:
1) Medial compartment (the inside part of the knee)
2) Lateral compartment (the outside part),
3) Patellofemoral compartment (the front of the knee between the kneecap and thighbone).
In unicompartmental knee replacement, the damaged compartment is replaced with metal and plastic. The rest of the bone and healthy cartilage within the knee is left alone.
A uni compartmental knee replacement operation typically lasts between one & two hours. An incision is made at the front of the knee. The three compartments of the knee are explored inorder to verify if there is a cartilage damage. Once it is felt that uni compartmental knee replacement is not suitable a total knee replacement is performed.
If the knee is appropriate for a partial knee replacement, the surgeon uses special saws to get rid of the cartilage from the damaged compartment of your knee and will enclose the ends of the tibia & femur with metal coverings. With the help of the cement metal components are generally held to the bone. A plastic is placed between the two metal components to provide a smooth gliding surface.
Patients usually experience easier rehabilitation & less swelling than patients undergoing total knee replacement. Generally, patients go home 1 to 3 days after the operation. To maintain the range of motion and restore strength a physical therapist is needed. After 6 weeks, the patient may resume his regular activities.