What is the success rate of partial knee replacement?
Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the connective tissue, called articular cartilage, wears away within the joint. Articular cartilage acts as a shock absorber in the joint and prevents the bones from scraping against each other. When the cartilage thins, the joint can become inflamed and cause pain and stiffness in the joint.
Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis
Signs of the condition include:
- Joint stiffness that is most noticeable upon awakening or after being inactive
- Loss of flexibility
- Decreased range of motion
- Grating sensation
- Bone spurs
- Swelling caused by soft tissue inflammation around the joint
The Prevalence of Knee Osteoarthritis
About one third of the population is estimated to have knee osteoarthritis. Knee osteoarthritis affects men and women equally up to the age of 50. After the age of 50, women are more likely to have the condition.
Who Qualifies for a Partial Knee Replacement?
Partial knee replacement is an option for individuals with medial or lateral knee osteoarthritis. Individuals may need partial knee replacement if anti-inflammatory drugs and achieving a healthy body mass index fail to relieve knee pain.
Though a doctor may perform an x-ray of the knee to determine a patient’s eligibility for a partial knee replacement, a surgeon won’t know for certain if a patient is eligible for the procedure until the operation has already begun. To qualify for the procedure, patients must have an intact anterior cruciate ligament, an average range of motion, damage to only one compartment, and a stable knee.
The Risks of Partial Knee Replacement
After surgery, patients may experience some knee joint stiffness. Other rare complications include an infection and blood clots. Late complications may include a failure, loosening or dislocation of the prosthesis as well as pain.
The Benefits of Partial Knee Replacement
Partial knee replacement is a better option, compared to total knee replacement, because it preserves range of motion and knee function. The operation preserves healthy tissue and bone in the knee. Patients who have undergone partial knee replacement surgery are still candidates for total knee replacement surgery if they need it in the future.
Another noteworthy benefit of partial knee replacement is a decreased level of blood loss during surgery and faster recovery of knee motion. Patients only need to stay one to two days in the hospital following surgery and can expect to walk unassisted within a week or two of the operation.
The Success Rate
Research has shown that more than 90 percent of partial knee replacements are still properly functioning 10 years after surgery. Other research suggests that patients who have a total knee replacement on one knee and a partial knee replacement on the other knee consistently prefer partial knee replacement. Patients have said that the partial knee replacements feel more “normal” when walking and performing daily activities.
If a partial knee replacement requires re-operation in the future, it can easily be revised to a conventional total knee replacement. Revisions of partial knee replacements are much easier to perform for the surgeon and undergo for the patient than revisions of total knee replacements.