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What is the Difference Between Total Knee Replacement and Partial Knee Replacement?

To understand the difference between a total and a partial knee replacement, it is necessary to know a little bit about the normal knee structure. The knee is a very complex joint that can be divided into 3 compartments supported by multiple ligaments and tendons:



  1. The patellofemoral compartment is present between the kneecap and the thigh.

  2. The lateral compartment is on the outside of the knee.

  3. The medial compartment is on the inside of the knee.






Total knee replacement involves replacing all 3 compartments of the knee with artificial prostheses. Partial knee replacement involves replacing only the damaged compartments of the knee leaving the healthy compartments and ligaments intact.





In the past, total knee replacement was the only reliable option to treat end-stage knee arthritis. This is because replacing the entire knee was technically less demanding than replacing a specific portion of the knee. With advances in surgical instrumentation and image-guided technology, partial knee replacements are becoming very successful as well.





Patients with uni-compartmental osteoarthritis are ideal candidates for partial knee replacement. However, with the development of better medications to control the immune system, even patients with rheumatoid arthritis may be candidates for partial knee replacement depending on the extent of damage to the knee.





Advantages of partial knee replacement:





  • Smaller incisions resulting in smaller scars

  • Less blood loss

  • Minimal bone removal

  • Less postoperative pain

  • Quicker recovery time

  • Natural feel to the knee

  • Better stability due to less cutting of soft tissue






Advantages of total knee replacement:





  • Reliable procedure for relieving symptoms

  • Less complex surgery

  • Slightly longer life expectancy of implant (greater than 20 years for 96% of patients)






Knee replacement is the most commonly performed joint replacement procedure with most patients reporting significant relief of symptoms. While knee replacement is an elective procedure, research studies suggest that prolonged delay in undergoing the procedure may increase the risk of joint deformity, muscle atrophy, and cause a general decline in overall health.





Book an appointment with Dr. Jacob to discuss treatment options for your chronic knee pain today.





Dr. Jacob brings cutting edge techniques and technology to the Oklahoma City area. He has extensive training in minimally invasive, rapid recovery joint replacement as well as robotically assisted hip and knee replacement. Dr. Jacob is a pioneer in outpatient joint replacement allowing some patient to go home the same day as their procedure and recover in the comfort of their own home. The cornerstone of Dr. Jacob’s practice is to have the recovery process be easier, faster and less painful allowing his patients to get back into the game of life. Dr. Jacob is committed to bringing the highest level of orthopedic care while treating each and every patient like a family member. Providing you with patient centered care you can trust.



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