During knee replacement surgery, damaged bone and cartilage is resurfaced with metal and plastic components. In unicompartmental knee replacement (also called "partial" knee replacement) only a portion of the knee is resurfaced. This procedure is an alternative to total knee replacement for patients whose disease is limited to just one area of the knee.
In the correctly indicated patients, people undergoing a partial knee replacement have a smaller incision, less pain, better range of motion, a quicker recovery, and a faster return to activity than patients undergoing a total knee replacement. Many patients also feel the partial knee feels more like a natural knee than the total knee replacement. In fact, most partial knee replacements can be done as an outpatient procedure.
This x-ray photo shows a partial knee replacement on the left and a full replacement on the right.
4 Signs You May Benefit from a Partial Knee Replacement
In a partial knee replacement, only one area of the knee is resurfaced.