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Difference Between Full and Partial Knee Replacement

Posted by Medical Device Store on

Learn the Key Differences Between Full and Partial Knee Replacement

Knee replacement surgery has been an option for patients since the first surgery was performed in 1968. Since then, more than 754,000 patients have benefited from the procedure in the United States alone, and there have been vast improvements in both the technique and orthopedic instruments utilized.

Whether your knees have recently started bothering you or you have already discussed options with your doctor, this article will help you understand the critical differences between partial and total knee replacement.

Anatomy of a Knee

The knee itself is made of three separate compartments: the medial, which is the inside; the lateral or outside; and the patellofemoral, which is the front. Other portions include the following:

  • Lower end of the femur (thigh bone)
  • Upper end of the tibia (shin bone)
  • Patella (kneecap)
  • Articular cartilage (helps the bones move within the joints)
  • C-shaped wedges called menisci (act as shock absorbers for the tibia and fibula)
  • Ligaments (hold the bones together and stabilize them)
  • Synovial membrane (thin lining covering the inner surfaces)
  • Knee Replacement

    In a normal, healthy knee, all the above components work together in harmony so that a person may walk, run, and move about normally. When there is an injury or disease, this symbiosis is disrupted, and the muscle pain and weakness can result in reduced function.

    While total knee surgery will effectively replace all three compartments, a partial will only replace the affected part. Likewise, anterior and posterior ligaments are removed in a complete surgery yet are preserved during a partial knee replacement.

    Benefits and Complications

    The complications, such as nerve injury, bone fractures and infection, are about the same for both procedures.

    However, with partial knee replacement surgery, patients can expect:

  • Fewer complications
  • A faster recovery
  • Better range of motion
  • Less blood loss
  • There is a chance that the surgery may have to be repeated later, which can be more complicated than having a total replacement initially and may lead to a reduced range of motion.

    Always speak with your doctor to fully understand the risks. To learn more about the instruments used, visit the Medical Device Store.