Knee Replacement Surgery: Partial or Total?

Login to Health September 12, 2017 Bone Health 774 Views

Partial knee replacement (PKR) as the term suggests covers only the worn out part of the joint while the rest of it remains untouched. Probably why it is also known as unicompartmental knee arthroplasty – with one of the knee compartments being replaced. Many surgeons use robotic assistance in unicondylar or partial knee replacement surgery, for the purpose of accuracy and precision.

When you opt for a partial knee replacement surgery you are assured of fewer complications leading to faster recovery and also an overall range of mobility, besides providing an added advantage – that of reduced loss of blood.

However a matter of great concern is the inability to kneel despite supervised intervention and education six weeks after the partial knee replacement surgery, as reported by many patients. Training patients to kneel is a vital post-operative step as the inability to kneel can be extremely detrimental in the long run, resulting in not being able to perform household tasks or attending religious ceremonies where kneeling is required. In a study, physical therapists were baffled as to how patients with arthritis in other joints after following their instructions were able to kneel, while others reported loss of this ability. Findings revealed that numbness, scar position and range of motion had no role to play with the ability or inability to kneel. What was the stumbling block then? Fear is the answer and it was overcome with regular sessions by physical therapists which provided direction on how to kneel safely and easily.

On the other hand total knee replacement or arthroplasty is considered many times over partial knee replacement as it does not involve splicing or removing one segment. It is therefore less complicated for the surgeon to maneuver, considering that knee surgeries are complex to perform.

Factors to be Considered before a Partial or Total Knee Replacement.

Which factors do doctors consider before they recommend partial or total knee replacement? It is determined by of course the seniority of the patient and whether he or she is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. However these are not clear-cut criteria and every case has to be studied in-depth by surgeons. Rheumatoid arthritis is self induced by the body, or what is called autoimmune, as the immune system of the body attacks the joints.

In a partial knee replacement surgery, as most of the knee is left untouched and only the affected segment is operated upon, patients feel it’s like a natural knee. Another important factor is that medication has developed over time and better medication to control the immune system implies that a patient can make do with partial knee replacement instead of having to undergo a total knee replacement.

Consider this: An eighty year old who has severe pain in her knee and also has rheumatoid arthritis, may be told to opt for partial knee replacement as she may have only one part of her knee worn down to the bone. If the rest of the compartments don’t need treatment then partial knee replacement would be the right option.

Healing time and the durability also differ for both: partial and total knee replacement surgeries. Those who have opted for the latter do not need to go in for another replacement surgery till almost 2 decades; while the duration is approximately half for those who undergo partial knee replacement surgery.

Let the experts help you to decide which type of knee replacement surgery is best suited for you.

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