Fixing the knee partially
Sometimes the healthcare provider recommends partial knee replacement surgery to focus on fixing the damaged part of the knee cartilage. Only the affected part of the knee is repaired with a prosthesis. Partial knee replacement is usually reserved for younger patients and also for older active patients. People with medial or lateral osteoarthritis should also consider partial knee replacement.
Time for a new knee
Total joint replacement or total knee replacement is reserved for patients with severe knee pain that interferes with daily activities. The surgery aims to completely alleviate knee pain and restore the ability to perform everyday activities. Patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are good candidates for total joint surgery. The orthopedic specialist will examine the knee and evaluate the patient’s medical history to recommend the right surgery.
Possible risks to consider
Every surgery has some potential complications. With knee replacement surgery, the common risks include infection, bleeding, blood clots, and injury to adjacent blood vessels or nerves. Additional complications include continuous pain, joint stiffness, and failed prosthesis. The less invasive the surgery, the fewer the risk of complications, so people who choose partial replacement are at lower risk.
Which one has a faster recovery?
The recovery rate for each person varies. Getting back to normal depends on factors such as age, preexisting medical conditions, and consistency with physical therapy exercises. However, partial knee replacement generally has a faster recovery time than total joint replacement. Partial knee surgery requires 1-2 days in the hospital, while total joint replacement is usually closer to 3-4 days. Recovery tends to be faster with a partial replacement, requiring just 3-4 weeks of downtime. People who opt for a total replacement should expect closer to 6-8 weeks of recovery before returning to normal activities.
Benefits of partial over total
Besides leaving the hospital sooner, there are other advantages to choosing partial knee replacement over total joint replacement. Partial knee surgery usually results in better range of movement. The knee’s functionality is also much better with a partial procedure due to the preservation of some healthy tissue and bone. The risks after partial replacement are less, and patients are usually more content with the results of the knee replacement.
Making the choice
The injury or condition of the knee will often determine the surgery required. A partial knee replacement requires less time in the hospital and a shorter recovery overall. Both procedures can help with severe knee pain, helping people get back to everyday activities.