Unicondylar Knee Replacement simply means that only a part of the knee joint is replaced through a smaller incision than would normally be used for a total knee replacement.
Unicondylar Knee Replacements have been performed since the early 1970′s with mixed success. Over the last 25 years implant design, instrumentation and surgical technique have improved markedly making it a very successful procedure for unicompartmental arthritis. Recent advances allow us to perform this through a smaller incision and therefore is not as traumatic to the knee making recovery quicker.
Total Knee Replacement surgery replaces the ends of the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) with plastic inserted between them and usually the patella (knee cap).
Arthritis is a general term covering numerous conditions where the joint surface (cartilage) wears out. The joint surface is covered by a smooth articular surface that allows pain free movement in the joint.
When the articular cartilage wears out, the bone ends rub on one another and cause pain. There are numerous conditions that can cause arthritis and often the exact cause is never known. In general, but not always it affects people as they get older (Osteoarthritis).
Other Causes Include
In an Arthritic Knee
The combinations of these factors make the arthritic knee stiff and limit activities due to pain or fatigue.
The decision to proceed with Knee Replacement surgery is a cooperative one between you, your surgeon, family and your local doctor.
The benefits following surgery are relief of symptoms of arthritis. These include
Prior to surgery you will usually have tried some conservative treatments such as simple analgesics, weight loss, anti-inflammatory medications, modification of your activities, canes or physical therapy.
The big advantage is that if for some reason it is not successful or fails many years down the track it can be revised to a total knee replacement without difficulty.
Not quite as reliable as a total knee replacement in taking away all pain Long term results not quite as good as total knee