Uni-Knee Partial Replacement

Uni-Knee Partial Replacement Allows Patients to Return to Activities Faster

Adults suffering from severe arthritis of the knee joint may be able to have Uni-Knee partial knee replacement at The Orthopedic Hospital, rather than traditional total knee replacement. The Uni-Knee approach can help patients get back to what they love more quickly and with less pain than total knee replacement.

Partial Knee Replacement Uses a Smaller Implant

Minimally-invasive unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) involves replacement of the inside (medial), outside (lateral) or front (patello femoral) compartment of the knee. Since only one part of the damaged cartilage and bone is removed and replaced with a small implant, UKA is also called partial knee replacement. In total knee replacements, all cartilage is removed from the knee joint and replaced with a metal and plastic implant.

Benefits of the Uni-Knee Partial Replacement

Benefits of UKA, or partial knee replacement, over total knee replacement include:

  • Better range of motion
  • Less invasive procedure
  • Less pain and swelling postoperatively
  • Less therapy required, if any
  • More normal knee function
  • No need for blood transfusions due to minimal blood loss
  • Quicker recovery

Patients who undergo UKA at The Orthopedic Hospital are usually discharged the same day and require minimal physical therapy. By comparison, patients undergoing a total knee replacement usually spend several days in the hospital after surgery, require several weeks of therapy and sometimes require a short stay in a post-acute care or inpatient rehabilitation facility.

One Small Incision Leads to Less Blood Loss

UKA requires a small incision, which results in less blood loss and a shorter recovery period. UKA requires a 3-inch incision, compared to an 8-inch incision for the traditional procedure. Patients undergoing UKA do not need to worry about significant blood loss, while patients undergoing a traditional operation may give blood preoperatively in case a blood transfusion is needed.

Who Qualifies for UKA?

Patients who qualify for the minimally invasive unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) cannot have widespread arthritis in the joint. Unfortunately, for a lot of patients, by the time they seek surgical management as the solution to their condition, the disease is too far along, eliminating them from consideration for UKA. Other considerations for UKA include:

  • 40 years of age or older
  • Have intact ligaments, specifically the ACL
  • Have severe arthritis of the knee in a confined area with pain that limits activity 
  • Have tried conservative treatments, such as cortisone injections, medications, strengthening exercises and weight loss, which have consistently failed
  • Not severely obese

Long-Term Considerations

Multiple studies report that the majority of patients who meet the criteria for UKA have good results, according to an article on The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Still, some patients may develop arthritis in another area of the knee or wear out the implant, or the implant may come loose inside the knee. These situations require additional surgery, and possibly, the conversion to a total knee replacement.

Meet the Joint Replacement Surgeons

Get to know the orthopedic surgeons performing partial and total knee replacement surgery here.