“It’s common for people to live with the pain for a long time, more out of a reluctance to have anything done,” said Dr. Lawless, who practices with Premier Physician Network. “But those people are usually the ones that come back and say, ‘I wish I would have done it sooner.’”
Knee replacement surgery has evolved over the years and now provides the option of replacing just part of the knee for those who are eligible. Understanding the difference between total knee replacement and partial knee replacement can help a person make the best decision for themselves, Dr. Lawless said.
Knee replacement surgery involves trimming off the tips of the worn-out bones and placing a metal cap on its diseased edge to cover exposed nerve fibers. A plastic piece is then placed between that bone and the other one it now touches to replace the natural cushioning that is no longer there.
A total knee replacement is when all three compartments of the knee – including the medial compartment, lateral compartment and knee cap area – are replaced. A partial knee replacement is when just one of the three compartments is replaced.
There are several things to consider when determining which surgery is right for you:
Overall health: It is important to consider what type of arthritis led to the joint disease in the first place. Those who suffer from anything other than osteoarthritis – such as inflammatory arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout – will not be able to undergo a partial knee replacement because it is highly likely that the other two compartments will need to be replaced in the future.
Reduced recovery: Those who are eligible for a partial knee replacement will undergo a less invasive surgery since a smaller portion of the knee is being replaced. This can result in less discomfort and a quicker recovery than a total knee replacement.
Return to activity: The type of activity you can return to and how soon you can do it after surgery depends on which procedure is done. Dr. Lawless said he will often allow patients who undergo a partial knee replacement to engage in a higher level of activity than those who have had a total knee replacement.
Still, most individuals – regardless of the type of procedure – are able to enjoy activities they haven’t been able to in quite some time including simple things such as walking up the stairs without any pain, he said.
Premier Physician Network is one of the largest groups of pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, and urgent care practices in southwest Ohio. For more information, go online to www.premierphysiciannet.com.
For more information on total or partial knee replacement or to find a Premier Orthopedics physician near you, visit www.PremierOrthoOH.com.