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Partial Knee Joint Replacement

Partial Knee Joint Replacement


There are a range of treatments for knee osteoarthritis and your doctor will discuss with you the options that will best relieve your individual osteoarthritis symptoms.



Surgical Procedure

A partial knee replacement operation typically lasts between 1 and 2 hours.

Inspection of the joint. Your surgeon will make an incision at the front of your knee. He or she will then explore the three compartments of your knee to verify that the cartilage damage is, in fact, limited to one compartment and that your ligaments are intact.

If your surgeon feels that your knee is unsuitable for a partial knee replacement, he or she may instead perform a total knee replacement. This contingency plan will have been discussed with you before your operation to make sure that you agree with this strategy.

Complications

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved with partial knee replacement. Your surgeon will discuss each of the risks with you and will take specific measures to help avoid potential complications.

Although rare, the most common risks include:

  • Blood clots. Blood clots in the leg veins are a common complication of knee replacement surgery. Blood clots can form in the deep veins of the legs or pelvis after surgery. Blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), low-molecular-weight heparin, and aspirin can help prevent this problem. Newer blood thinners, such as apixaban (Eliquis) and rivaroxaban (Xarelto), may also be prescribed by your doctor, depending upon your needs.
  • Infection. After surgery an infection may occur in the skin over the wound or deep in the wound. An infection may happen while you are in the hospital or after you go home. You will be given antibiotics before the start of your surgery and these will be continued for about 24 hours afterward to prevent infection.
  • Injury to nerves or vessels. Although it rarely happens, nerves or blood vessels may be injured or stretched during the procedure.
  • Continued pain
  • Risks of anesthesia
  • Need for additional surgery

Recovery

  • Hospital discharge. Partial knee replacement patients usually experience less postoperative pain, less swelling, and have easier rehabilitation than patients undergoing total knee replacement. In most cases, patients go home 1 to 3 days after the operation. Some patients go home the day of the surgery.
  • Pain management. After surgery, you will feel some pain, but your surgeon and nurses will make every effort to help you feel as comfortable as possible.
  • Many types of medicines are available to help control pain, including opioids, non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and local anesthetics. Treating pain with medication can help you feel more comfortable, which will help your body heal and recover from surgery faster.
  • Opioids can provide excellent pain relief, however, they are a narcotic and can be addictive. It is important to use opioids only as directed by your doctor. You should stop taking these medications as soon as your pain starts to improve.
  • Weightbearing. You will begin putting weight on your knee immediately after surgery. You may need a walker, cane, or crutches for the first several days or weeks until you become comfortable enough to walk without assistance.
  • Rehabilitation exercise. A physical therapist will give you exercises to help maintain your range of motion and restore your strength.
  • Doctor visits. You will continue to see your orthopaedic surgeon for follow-up visits in his or her clinic at regular intervals.
  • You will most likely resume all of your regular activities of daily living by 6 weeks after surgery.
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