In the past, partial knee replacement was used frequently for older patients who were only moderately active. Today, partial knee replacement is a preferred method to use with all patients (younger and older) that have only one area of the knee affected because there is a more natural feel to the knee, the recovery is faster, and there is preservation of the normal biomechanics of the joint. Partial knee replacement is typically less painful and has a shorter recovery time.
In a partial knee replacement, only the damaged section of the knee is repaired. Your knee is divided into three primary compartments:
- Lateral compartment – outside of the knee
- Medial compartment – inside of the knee
- Patellofemoral compartment – between the patella (or kneecap) and the trochlea (the grooved area in the femur)
If osteoarthritis is advanced and only limited to one compartment, you may be a candidate for partial knee replacement. This procedure replaces the damaged section of the knee with metal and plastic. In many cases, it can be performed as minimally invasive in a specialized outpatient setting.