Knee arthritis is a chronic condition that’s characterized by the wear and tear of knee cartilage and soft tissue with age, overuse and/or injury. Once diagnosed, knee arthritis is typically treated using non-surgical treatment options, such as activity modification, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy. When knee arthritis doesn’t respond to nonsurgical treatment, surgical intervention may be necessary. Two surgical options used to treat knee arthritis are: (1) a total knee replacement and (2) a partial knee replacement.

What is a Total Knee Replacement?

Total knee replacements (TKRs) are one of the most common orthopedic procedures. During a TKR, an orthopedic surgeon removes arthritic bone and cartilage and replaces it with metal and plastic components. After surgery, the patient has a new knee joint.

total knee replacement

Illustration 1- TKR x-ray

How Partial Knee Replacement is Different

An alternative surgical approach to treating knee arthritis is a partial knee replacement (PKR). The procedure is similar to a TKR in that arthritic bone is removed and replaced. However, it differs from a TKR in that it is only performed on one of the following knee compartments:

  • Medial (inside) compartment
  • Lateral (outside) compartment
  • Patellofemoral (front) compartment

After surgery, the patient has a knee joint that has been partially changed.

partial knee replacement

Illustration 2- PKR x-ray

Partial Knee Replacement Recovery and Results

When compared to patients who undergo a TKR, patients who undergo a PKR typically benefit in the following ways:

  • Less time is spent in the hospital after surgery, with many being a short overnight stay after the replacement
  • Symptom relief occurs sooner
  • The response to physical therapy is better

It is important to note that not all patients are candidates for a PKR.

Partial Knee Replacement Candidates

Partial Knee Replacements are limited to patients who have arthritis in only one knee compartment. In many cases, patients who are candidates for the procedure have arthritis that was caused by an accident or injury or arthritis that hasn’t reached severe stages.

If you’re experiencing knee pain that won’t go away on its own or doesn’t respond to non-surgical treatment options, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices to arrange an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. A medical history, physical examination, and medical imaging studies will be used to diagnose your condition and come up with a treatment plan that’s right for you. You can expect results when you choose our office.

At Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, our prestigious Joint Replacement Program is led by Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Richard McCormack.  Dr. McCormack attended Harvard University where he was captain of the two-time national championship winning Harvard Lightweight Rowing team.  Dr. McCormack is an expert in Total Hip Replacement and has helped thousands of patients regain an active and healthy lifestyle. When you’re ready to talk to an orthopedic specialist about your hip condition, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at one of our 5 Long Island offices.