Knee replacements are referred to as partial or total. Total knee replacements involve replacement of the complete knee joint surfaces of the tibia (or shin bone) and femur (or thigh bone). The kneecap is only resurfaced when necessary.
Partial knee replacements are where only part of the knee joint is replaced. The knee is divided into compartments including the “medial” or inner part of your knee, the “lateral” or outer part of your knee and the patellofemoral compartment where the kneecap glides on the thigh bone. Partial or unicondylar knee replacements are when only one compartment of tibia and femur, most commonly medial, are replaced. Patellofemoral knee replacements are when the kneecap and where it glides are the only components replaced.
Partial knee replacements are only options for patients with specific types of arthritis. At the time of your consultation your VHKRI surgeon will advise you whether you are a candidate for partial knee replacement. Most patients seen in our clinic will have numerous regions of the knee affected by degenerative arthritis. Therefore, most patients will receive total knee replacement rather than partial replacement.
It is well established that partial knee replacements have a higher risk of needing revision surgery in the first 10-20 years and generally do not permit a higher level of participation in sports or other aspects of an active occupation or lifestyle.
While all of our surgeons can discussion the options with you, all partial knee replacements at the VHKRI are performed by Dr. Bas Masri.