Knee pain is one of the most common complaints our patients describe when coming to their appointment. Because of the complexity of the joint, there can be several issues that are causing the pain a patient is experiencing. If you have ever thought about having a knee replacement procedure done to alleviate this pain, we’re here to help answer some of the questions you may have. In today’s blog, we’re covering the different kinds of knee replacements available. There’s a lot to cover when it comes to knee replacements, so let’s take a second and discuss some of the basics of the different types of knee replacement surgeries.

The first thing to understand is there are two different types of knee replacement surgeries, a total knee replacement, and a partial knee replacement. There are several factors that will help determine what type of surgery an individual will require, such as the age of a person and the condition of the joint being replaced, but before we get into that let’s talk about some of the key differences between the two procedures.

Total Knee Replacement

Your knee is made up of three different compartments, and with a total knee replacement a doctor looks to replace all three of them. The bones themselves may have been damaged by osteoarthritis, overuse, or various other causes. With a total knee replacement, a doctor removes the damaged cartilage, prepares the surface of the bones, and secures the new implants in place (this can be done through various techniques such as press-fitting or cementing). Next, the doctor will insert a plastic button under the patella (knee-cap), and finish by putting a medical grade spacer between the new metal components that will allow them to glide and move easily.

Partial Knee Replacement

With a partial knee replacement, the goal is to preserve as much of the original bone and tissue as possible. If a person only has deterioration in one compartment of the knee, is younger than 65, and lives an active lifestyle, they may be a candidate for a partial knee replacement. The surgery is less invasive and has a shorter recovery time, however due to the nature of knee joint pain, these surgeries are much less common. 

Among the two main types of knee replacement surgeries there are also different things that can be done depending on the status of the knee, and status of the candidate receiving the surgery. Because of new technology it may be possible to do a minimally invasive surgery, or even a computer assisted surgery, and your doctor can help you decide which option is best for you.

If you are considering a total or partial knee replacement, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor to see what’s best for you. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Nelson, call us at 435-774-8511.