In approximately one third of cases of osteoarthritis of the knee the wear and tear is confined to one compartment of the knee (either medial or lateral). In these cases, a unicompartmental knee replacement (see diagram) can be performed.
This operation has several advantages, including
- a smaller incision
- quicker recovery
- more natural feeling of movement of the knee when walking and bending
- greater range of movement
- rarely requires a blood transfusion
The decision to perform a unicompartmental or total knee replacement is based on the location of the pain, the severity of the disease process and the degree of any knee deformity.
For patients with multiple health issues this operation can place less stress on the body than a total knee replacement. In these circumstances this procedure may be the more suitable operation.
The procedure is technically more challenging than a total knee replacement and it has been shown that better outcomes occur with surgeons who do this procedure frequently.
For further information view Knee Replacement For Osteoarthritis page.