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Partial vs Total Knee Replacement: Learn the Difference

Posted on in Joint Replacement, Orthopedic Surgeons

The human body is an amazing machine. The musculoskeletal system gives your body form, stability, and mobility. This system, made up of bones, muscles, ligaments, joints, cartilage, and other connective tissues, is truly exceptional. Joints like your knees work endlessly each day for years. While your body can withstand a lot of wear, injury, arthritis, and other issues can cause serious joint damage. If the damage is serious enough, you may need a full or partial joint replacement. If you think you’ll need joint replacement surgery in Jacksonville, FLyou might want to know the difference between a partial and a total knee replacement. 

Partial Knee Replacement

Your knee has three different compartments: the medial (inside part of the knee), lateral (outside part), and patellofemoral (front of the knee between the kneecap and thighbone). Patients with osteoarthritis might only have damage to one of the compartments in the knee. If this is the case, then the entire joint doesn’t necessarily need to be replaced. A partial knee replacement is probably a better option for patients with only one affected compartment. In a partial knee replacement, ligaments in the front and back of the knee are left intact. When possible, it’s always better to preserve the body’s own structure and movement. A partial joint replacement may be less traumatic to the body than a full joint replacement. You’ll have less blood loss, less bone and tissue dissection, faster recovery of your range of motion, and a better range of motion in general.

Total Knee Replacement

With a total knee replacement, damaged cartilage and bone is removed from the surface of the knee joint and replaced with artificial components. These components are designed to help your knee move like a normal, healthy knee would. A total knee replacement is often recommended for people with severe osteoarthritis or chronic knee pain. It provides more comprehensive repair as opposed to a partial knee replacement. Also, the revision rate for total knee replacements is lower than for partial knee replacements. A revision is a repeat surgery to address problems. Revision surgeries can also be more complicated and less successful than primary surgeries. Knowing which compartment of your knee is damaged can help you decide on which type of joint replacement is needed.

Do You Need a Total or a Partial Replacement?

You will need to be evaluated by an orthopedic physician to know whether a complete or partial replacement makes more sense in your situation. Your doctor will use x-rays and MRI scans as well as your medical history and your explanation of pain and mobility in order to present you with a recommended treatment plan, including whether total or partial replacement surgery is better for you. Discuss with an orthopedic physician at Southeast Orthopedic Specialists about which joint replacement surgery is right for you.

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