Knee Replacement: What to Consider

U.S.News & World Report—March 25, 2015

The knee joint is made up of three separate areas, or compartments: the medial or inside part of the knee, the lateral or outside part of the knee and the patellofemoral compartment at the front of the knee, beneath the thighbone.

If you have damage from arthritis confined to just one compartment of your knee, along with significant pain and disability despite medical treatment, you might be a candidate for partial knee replacement. Yet orthopedic surgeons say too many people who could get a partial replacement – which spares healthy surrounding bone and tissue – receive a total knee replacement instead.

There are "distinct" advantages to opting for partial knee replacement if you're a suitable candidate with osteoarthritis, says Dr. Andrew Pearle, founder of the Computer-Assisted Surgery Center at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

"It tends to be a more natural-feeling knee," he says. "It tends to be a more athletic knee – you can play more sports on it." Partial knee replacement involves a “much quicker return to work and is a lot less expensive to go through," he adds.

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