Millions of people suffer from knee pain and stiffness – often due to degenerative joint disease like osteoarthritis. This pain and stiffness can significantly impair mobility and limit a patient’s quality of life. A majority of these patients have arthritis all throughout their knee in each of the three compartments of the knee: the inside of the knee (medial), the outside of the knee (lateral), and under the knee cap (patellofemoral). However, some patients have arthritis in just one area of the knee and most commonly this is on the inside of the knee in the medial compartment. For these patients, conservative treatment is always recommended first and Dr. Hannon works with each patient to determine the best treatment for them based on their goals and activity level. However, after conservative treatments are no longer effective, these patients with isolated arthritis in one compartment of the knee may be a candidate for a partial knee replacement.
In a partial knee replacement, a small incision is made over the front of the knee. The arthritis is removed in the one compartment affected, most commonly on the inside of the knee (medial compartment). Metal components are then placed in the one compartment of the knee affected by the arthritis and a high-grade metal plastic spacer is inserted between the two components. This creates a smooth gliding surface that allows patients to walk and get back to the activities they love without pain. To help with the surgery, a robot is routinely used which helps guide placement of the components during surgery. Compared to a full or total knee replacement, patients who undergo a partial knee replacement may have a faster recovery and a more naturally feeling knee.