For many years, if one of the three knee compartments- medial, lateral or patellar-was damaged, all three compartments were replaced. While this surgery made for an improved knee, parts of the knee that were not damaged and the cruciate ligaments (essential for normal knee function) were removed in this large operation.
For years, specialists at Mission Hospital have offered partial knee replacements for knees with only one or two damaged compartments. A partial knee surgery only replaces that part of the knee cartilage that is damaged, leaving the healthy areas intact. By replacing less, the incision can be smaller to the skin and underlying muscle, anterior cruciate ligament is retained, the recovery is normally quicker and the end result more closely replicates the normal knee. Many studies show that these "uni" knees are functioning well at 15 years and more.
Orthopedic surgeons perform two types of partial knee replacements:
What to expect
Before you proceed with a partial knee resurfacing, your physician reviews symptoms, medical history, and possibly performs several tests prior to making a surgical decision. Your doctor evaluates knee and ankle joint alignment and movement, and checks reflexes, muscle strength, range of motion and ligament stability in the affected knee. You will need x-rays to determine the amount of joint or bone damage, cartilage loss and number of bone spurs present.
Hospital stays average anywhere from one to three days. In many cases, patients are permitted to walk soon after surgery, drive a car within two weeks and return to normal daily activities shortly thereafter.
Referral and Insurance Information
Talk to your physician to decide if Minimally Invasive Tensor Technique or Robotic Partial Knee Resurfacing are viable surgical options for you, then ask for a referral to Mission Hospital's Orthopedic Services.
We also recommend that you check with your insurance provider before proceeding with any surgery. As a knee arthroplasty procedure, both techniques are typically covered by most Medicare-approved and private health insurers. However, some programs may require a doctor's referral for your insurance to provide coverage.