Knee arthritis frequently affects only one part of the joint, or one “compartment”. Rather than replacing the entire joint, some patients can benefit from a “partial joint replacement” or a uni-compartmental knee replacement. The advantage is that there is a shorter hospital stay and the recovery after these “partial joint replacements” is faster. Because the undamaged ligaments, cartilage and bone of the knee are retained with a partial knee replacement, patients typically feel that partial knee replacements feel more natural. However, they also have a limited lifespan and eventually, the partial knee replacement generally needs to be converted to a total knee replacement.
Only a small percentage of patients (less than 10%) are candidates for this type of operation. Ask your surgeon whether you would benefit from a uni-compartmental knee replacement.