How to Know If You Need Partial or Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Whether we’re walking, sitting, bending or lifting, knees are at the center of nearly all our daily activities. But if you have arthritis in your knees, these simple activities can suddenly become excruciating. Physical therapy, cortisone injections, and pain relievers can often alleviate knee arthritis, but when these methods fail to provide adequate relief, it may be time to consider knee replacement surgery.

According to The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, more than 600,000 people undergo knee replacement surgery the United States each year. Thanks to medical advancements, patients now experience shorter hospital stays and require less recovery time. And with improved materials, joint replacements can remain effective for 20 to 30 years (Source: Fox8). There’s never been a better time to consider knee replacement surgery, but the nature of your knee pain will determine whether you need partial or total knee replacement.

There are three compartments within the knee joint: the medial compartment (inner), lateral compartment (outer) and patellofemoral (middle). If your knee arthritis is limited to just one compartment, you may be a candidate for partial knee replacement. Partial knee replacement is less invasive than total knee replacement. It requires a smaller incision, uses smaller components, and has a shorter recovery time.

Total knee replacement is recommended for patients who have arthritis in more than one compartment of the knee. Total knee replacement is a more involved procedure, but it also lasts longer than partial knee replacement.

It’s important to remember that each case is unique, and only your doctor can assess which surgery is right for you. If you’re experiencing debilitating knee pain, don’t waste time in setting up an appointment. The sooner you seek treatment, the better your chances of receiving successful treatment that will restore knee function and alleviate pain.