Partial Knee Replacement Surgery

Damage to the kneecap (patella) is a common occurrence requiring expert medical advice from a Knee Surgeon. Kneecap replacement is a routine knee operation. There are principally two types of knee replacement surgery: total knee replacement and partial knee replacement. 

Total knee replacement is a major surgical procedure but not all patients need to have the whole of the knee replaced. You may be a suitable patient for a unicompartmental (partial) knee replacement. This procedure is better tolerated surgically, results in better function and has higher patient satisfaction rates than total knee replacement . 

In general, the average  number of partial knee replacements a knee surgeon performs in the UK is less than ten but Mr Geutjens performs 120 per year and is therefore aften asked to teach other surgeons.

If a partial knee replacement procedure is recommended by your Knee Surgeon, this could be either a patellofemoral or unicompartmental knee replacement procedure depending on the damage.

The knee is made up of 3 compartiments; a unicompartmental knee replacement is performed if only one compartment (usually the medial compartment) is damaged. The damaged or diseases part of the knee is removed and replaced with an implant leaving the healthy compartments untouched. 

How is Unicompartmental Knee Surgery performed?

Replacement of just the medial compartment can often be performed as a minimally invasive procedure (8cm incision). This will result in less blood loss, reduced time in hospital and a faster recovery. 

The damaged bone is removed and the end of thighbone (femur) and top of the shinbone (tibia) are reshaped ready to position and align the new implant. The implant effectively replaces the top surface of the lower shinbone and the femoral component which replaces the end of the thighbone.

Recovery from Unicompartmental Knee Replacement Surgery

Once the knee operation has been completed, the knee is bandaged, elevated and ice may be applied to help reduce the swelling. Painkillers may be prescribed to help manage the pain for a short time. For the patient, it may take a little while to adjust to their new knee as the look and feel of the knee after surgery is different to a natural knee.  The muscles and ligaments will need time to adapt and so initially walking and bending the knee and performing simple daily activities may be uncomfortable and possibly painful, but this will pass and normality will return.

Your Knee Surgeon will engage a physiotherapist to help you establish an exercise programme as part of your knee recovery. You should begin the physiotherapy programme as soon as you possible as it’s important to begin to use the knee as soon after surgery as possible.

Generally, it takes between 4 – 6 weeks to recover sufficiently to return to work or resume your regular daily activities.  

Surgery Consultation Process

As with all surgical procedures, Mr Guido Geutjens, Specialist Knee Surgeon, takes all of his patients through a thorough examination and diagnosis process before any surgical procedure is performed. Mr Geutjens will always ensure that a surgical approach is the most appropriate option and will fully explain the benefits and risks involved with any surgical procedure before proceeding.