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Minimally Invasive Knee Surgery

Partial knee replacement

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Updated May 16, 2014

unicompartmental knee replacement xray

X-Ray of a patient who had a unicompartmental (partial) knee replacement

What is known about long-term results with partial knee replacement?
The long-term results are very good when the minimally invasive partial knee replacement is done in the right patients. Older studies showed very poor results of the partial knee replacement, but these results are thought to be due to poor patient selection. If the minimally invasive procedure is done on a patient with too widespread arthritis, the results are very likely to be less than satisfactory. If your doctor does not recommend a partial knee replacement, you may be in this situation. If this is the case, further conservative treatment (e.g. injections, physical therapy, medications, etc.), or total knee surgery are the best options.

Will I need surgery again after having a partial knee replacement?
Hopefully not. When patients with a partial knee replacement are properly selected, the minimally invasive procedure is quite successful. That said, some patients continue to develop arthritis in other areas of the knee. Also, some patients wear out the unicompartmental knee implant, or it may come loose within the knee. All of these situations would require additional surgery, and possibly the conversion to a total knee surgery. Conversion from a partial knee replacement to a total knee can be more difficult because of the prior surgery, but it is not uncommon and results of conversion are good.

Other potential complications that should be discussed with your doctor prior to a partial knee replacement include infection, blood clots, and problems with anesthesia. It is important to have a long discussion with your doctor about the risks of this minimally invasive surgery, or any other procedure, prior to your operation.

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