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Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty

Unicompartmental knee arthroplasty, also known as partial knee replacement, is a technique of knee replacement developed to take account of the fact that in many cases only half of the knee may be affected by knee arthritis, with the other half remaining good.

A larger number of patients than is presently apparent may be suitable for partial knee replacement rather than total knee replacement. Advantages are that the procedure is shorter, cheaper and there may be a shortened rehabilitation period required with the physiotherapist.

When an orthopaedic surgeon assesses a patient with significant knee arthritis he has a choice of various types of knee replacement surgery, one of which is unicompartmental. In these cases either the inner or medial compartment or the outer or lateral compartment of the knee will be affected by arthritis of the joint cartilage. Osteoarthritis is overwhelmingly the most common disabling joint condition in the world and the number one reason for joint replacement.

If one half of the joint is close to normal in its joint cartilage it would seem wise to opt for the more minimal intervention and replace the affected half, leaving the possibility of replacing the whole joint to some point in the future if required. This would minimise the knee replacement surgery risks and knee replacement complications which could occur with the longer and more extensive surgery.

To prepare for knee replacement surgery it is vital for the patients to have good and comprehensive knee replacement surgery information so they know what to expect during the different stages of the process. A physiotherapist should assess and treat people waiting for this kind of knee surgery so that the exercise programme for then and after the operation can be set, working at strength, range of motion and gait pattern.

To aid understanding of how to work with the physio and other staff after the operation it is useful for patients to watch a partial knee replacement surgery video.

More information is available at MedlinePlus and at Wikipedia.

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