Partial Knee Replacement

The knee is divided into 3 segments, called compartments. While many patients have knee arthritis across multiple compartments of the knee, it is also fairly common for arthritis to be limited to just one compartment. For these patients, we are able to retain the healthy portions of the knee with a partial knee replacement.

Dr. John Coen has nearly 25 years of experience with knee replacement surgery. Knee replacement implants and techniques have continued to evolve over that time, making way for newer procedures like partial knee replacement. Dr. Coen believes that partial knee replacement can be a great option for patients with arthritis in only one part of the knee, especially for younger, more active patients.

Who Is a Candidate for Partial Knee Replacement?

The success of a partial knee replacement is in part dependent upon selecting the right candidate. If a patient has arthritis throughout the whole knee, partial knee replacement will not fully address the problem. Dr. Coen is very thorough in his evaluation process to accurately select candidates for partial knee replacement. This includes an exam and imaging tests to pinpoint the location of the arthritis. It is also important for patients to be honest about the location of the pain in the knee.

Like with all knee replacement procedures, candidates for partial knee replacement must have severe arthritis pain that affects everyday life and mobility and has not responded to nonsurgical treatments. Unlike total knee replacement, the arthritis must be limited to a single compartment of the knee. Age-wise, partial knee replacement tends to be the best option for younger patients who have never had a knee replacement and want to remain active, or patients in their 70s or 80s as the implants should last for the rest of their lives.

Through his years of experience as a board certified joint replacement specialist, Dr. Coen is typically able to accurately identify candidates for partial knee replacement ahead of surgery. However, in rare cases, arthritis may be discovered in other parts of the knee. In these cases, it would be in the patient’s best interest to have a total knee replacement. Dr. Coen discusses this possibility with patients ahead of surgery.

Partial Knee Replacement Procedure

As with a total knee replacement, Dr. Coen removes the damaged bone and cartilage from the knee and replaces it with implants made of metal with a plastic spacer inserted in between. However, with a partial knee replacement, the undamaged compartments of the knee are left intact.

Dr. Coen typically performs partial knee replacement in an outpatient surgery center, allowing patients to return home the day of surgery.

In addition to retaining more of the patient’s own bone and cartilage, many patients report that a partial knee replacement feels more natural and less mechanical than a total knee replacement.

Recovering from Partial Knee Replacement

Just as with a total knee replacement, commitment to the recovery plan is very important for partial knee replacement patients. Patients will see a physical therapist to work on strength and range of motion in the knee, but must also perform knee exercises three times a day on their own. It is important for patients to make time for the exercises, because the knee can get stiff if it is not moved frequently enough.

In some cases, patients with a partial knee replacement may hit early recovery goals slightly faster than patients with a total knee replacement. Patients typically still have some soreness after a partial knee replacement, so recovery is not necessarily easier than with a total knee replacement. Patients should be able to get around without assistive devices after 3-4 weeks and return to most of their normal routine in about 8 weeks. As with total knee replacement, it can take as long as a year to see the full benefit of partial knee replacement.

Following recovery from partial knee replacement, patients are able to participate in more rigorous activities if they want. However, it is important to note that very active patients may risk needing a revision knee replacement sooner than less active patients. If that is a risk the patient is willing to take, then partial knee replacement can be a great option for patients who want to remain active without having knee pain get in the way.

Partial Knee Replacement in Oregon City & Tualatin, OR

Dr. John Coen is a board certified joint replacement specialist who has performed knee replacements for nearly 25 years. Dr. Coen performs an average of 200-300 knee replacements every year, and has gained extensive experience in both new techniques and recommending the right procedure for the patient’s needs. Partial knee replacement can be a great option for patients who have arthritis limited to one compartment of the knee, especially for those who are younger and want to remain active. If you would like to learn more about partial knee replacement or schedule a consultation with Dr. Coen, please call our office at (503) 656-0836 or use our convenient appointment request form.