Knee Replacement Surgery – Partial Patellofemoral

If you have damage to your kneecap (patella) it may be that you require only a partial knee replacement rather than a full knee replacement. There are two types of partial replacement procedures: patellofemoral replacement and medial or lateral compartment replacement, often simply called  unicompartmental.

It may be that your Knee Surgeon has performed an arthroscopy procedure in order to assess the damage and the surgeon may even correct the damage during this procedure. A patellofemoral replacement procedure involves the resurfacing of the damaged kneecap and the corresponding area on the thighbone (femur).  This procedure will improve alignment and provide pain relief.

Your Knee Surgeon may have suggested this procedure because you could be suffering from arthritis, have joint deterioration or you may have damaged your kneecap (patella) through sport or some other kind of injury. A patellofemoral partial replacement is required if anterior knee pain in the joint is felt between the kneecap and the thighbone. If other parts of the knee are damaged besides the kneecap, then this procedure may not be suitable and your Knee Surgeon would recommend an alternative procedure. 

How is Partial Knee Replacement Surgery performed?

A partial knee replacement procedure is performed using a general anaesthetic or a spinal block anaesthetic. A small incision is made in the front of the knee. The worn out or damaged kneecap is resurfaced and cartilage is removed from the bone in the surrounding area. An implant is then positioned between the kneecap and thighbone. The movement and motion of the patella and thighbone should improve greatly and feel less painful. 

The average number of patello-femoral replacements a knee surgeon performs in the UK is 2. Mr Geutjens performs 25-30 per year with results far better then the average reported in the National Joint Registry.

Recovery from Knee Replacement Surgery

As with any implant, the shape and motion of the knee will be different to a normal knee and so time needs to be given for the muscles and ligaments to adapt, which initially may involved discomfort and pain, but over time this will diminish. Painkillers can be prescribed to help with the initial discomfort.

The Knee Surgeon will prescribe a programme of rehabilitation through physiotherapy and this should commence soon after surgery. It is important to get the knee moving and bending as soon after surgery as is possible to avoid the build up of scar tissue. Knee replacement recovery is usually between 4 to 8 weeks, but there will be certain restrictions placed upon individuals so as to prolong the life of a patellofemoral replacement, which usually last between 10 to 15 years. As a general rule, you will be asked to avoid activities such as heavy lifting, jumping from a long distance or from heights, all contact and impact sports.

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.