Who needs a partial knee resurfacing?
If you suffer from arthritis that only affects one part of your knee, and nonsurgical treatments haven’t been enough to relieve your pain and limited mobility, you may be a candidate. Candidates may feel pain on one side of the knee while performing weight-bearing activities or walking down stairs, due to their arthritis affecting only one weight-bearing compartment in the knee. Often, they will have no pain in their knee while at rest. If you think you may be a candidate, see an orthopedic surgeon trained in partial knee resurfacing for an evaluation.
What happens during partial knee resurfacing?
During any knee resurfacing procedure, areas of the joint where cartilage is worn down to bone are resurfaced and replaced with metal and plastic parts. However, total knee resurfacing (or replacement) and partial knee resurfacing vary greatly in both procedure and recovery times. During a total knee resurfacing, the quadriceps muscle is cut, the kneecap is dislocated, the cruciate ligaments are often removed, and all the moving parts are resurfaced with metal and plastic components.
In a partial knee resurfacing, however, only one of the three compartments in the knee is resurfaced with thin, naturally conforming components made of metal and plastic. This results in a more natural, flexible feel, because the well-functioning portions of your knee are left intact. The surgery is performed using minimally invasive techniques, so you will have a smaller incision. The benefits include less pain, swelling, and bleeding; shorter hospitalization; and faster rehabilitation and recovery.
How has partial knee resurfacing improved?
In the past, partial knee resurfacing had limited popularity because the incision size and recovery period was identical to a total knee replacement, and prosthesis designs made revision difficult. Today, both of these disadvantages are solved with the Repicci method of partial knee resurfacing. The procedure can be done through a short three- to four-inch incision without cutting into muscle. Implants are thin and durable, allowing for very little bone removal in the event that bone will be required for revision surgery.
How do you recover?
Over 80% of minimally invasive partial knee resurfacing procedures are performed in an outpatient setting and patients typically stay at the hospital no longer than one night. Following the procedure, a physical therapist will offer instruction on proper home exercises. However, most patients will not need to undergo any formal physical therapy. One week following the procedure, patients no longer require narcotic medications for pain relief. One to two weeks following the procedure, most patients regain the ability to drive and perform activities of daily living without the assistance of a walker or cane. However, recovery times may vary depending on a person’s age and physical needs.