What Is the Recovery Difference for Total Knee and Partial Knee Replacement?


Quick Answer

Patients having partial knee replacements versus those having full knee replacements have shorter recovery times and a more rapid return to normal activities. Recipients of partial knee replacements have a greater range of overall motion than patients having a total knee replacement, asserts the Leone Center for Orthopedic Care.

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Full Answer

Orthopedic surgeons conceptualize the knee joint in terms of three compartments, according to LCOC. The lateral compartment is outside the knee, while the patellofemoral compartment is at the front of the knee, and the medial compartment is located inside the knee itself. The most common area of arthritic degeneration is the medial compartment, but damage gradually spreads to the other compartments as well. If only one of these compartments shows degeneration, a partial knee replacement can be advantageous.

A partial knee replacement does not require the sacrifice of undamaged structures and unaffected compartments of the knee that a total knee replacement does, states LCOC. The implant is considerably smaller in a partial knee replacement, and only the deteriorated bone and soft tissue are reconstructed. This minimized intrusion avoids the interruption of neurological networks that occurs with a total knee replacement. Patients are generally satisfied with the outcome of partial knee replacements and often report that the partially reconstructed knee feels like a normal knee.

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