Partial vs. Total Knee Replacement

Knees take a day-to-day beating. Not only do they support your body weight, but they also absorb the impact of every step you take.

Even walking on a flat surface, your knees absorb around one-and-a-half times your body weight, and that pressure increases if you’re on an incline, climbing stairs, or running.

This daily stress, combined with a genetic risk of degenerative conditions, or a history of injury, can lead to severe and painful knee problems.

Our team of experienced physicians at M.O.S.T. Metro Orthopedics & Sports Therapy in Potomac, Maryland, offers comprehensive treatments for knee pain, including partial and total knee replacements.

While we try nonsurgical therapies first, joint replacement is often necessary. Every year, up to 790,000 knee replacement surgeries take place across the United States.

Here’s what we’d like you to know about partial and total knee replacements.

Signs you may need a knee replacement

Knee pain is common but doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a knee replacement. Many conditions improve with physical therapy, medication, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, or joint injections.

However, if nonsurgical treatments don’t relieve your pain and restore your function, surgery might be in your future.

Signs that you might need a knee replacement include:

  • Knee pain interferes with your mobility and ability to complete regular activities
  • Knee pain disrupts your rest or sleep
  • Chronic inflammation that doesn’t improve with rest or medicine
  • Deformity

Ultimately, you need an exam from an expert orthopedist to determine the best treatment to reduce your knee pain and help you get back to your regular activities.

Partial vs. total knee replacement

Your knee has three compartments: the medial (inside), lateral (outside), and patellofemoral (front of the knee between the kneecap and femur). We determine the best treatment or surgery, depending on the location and severity of the damage in your knee.

The main difference in partial and total knee replacements is evident in their names. Partial knee replacements involve replacing part of your knee, while a total replacement installs prosthetics for all parts of your knee.

By preserving part of the knee’s natural structure, a partial knee replacement is likely to be less traumatic, resulting in less bleeding and faster recovery.

A total knee replacement reduces the likelihood that follow-up surgery is needed to address any problems. This type of procedure, known as a “revision,” can be more complex than the original surgery.

Knee replacement process

While you’re under anesthesia, your surgeon carefully removes the damaged tissue from your knee. Then they smooth the edges of your bone and attach the prosthetic parts. The prosthetics might “press fit” onto your natural bone, or your surgeon may need to cement them in place.

Your surgeon then inserts a spacer between the metal parts of your knee to create a smooth gliding surface so you can walk normally.

Finally, your orthopedic surgeon removes their instruments and closes the incisions in your knee. They might bandage your knee to protect the incisions sites and keep your joint immobile.

Which type of knee replacement is right for you

When you have persistent and disruptive knee pain, you want a treatment that works.

Our team provides comprehensive exams, including X-rays and MRIs, to diagnose the root cause of your pain and identify the best treatment to restore your joint. This exam is the only way to know what type of surgery you need.

Whether you’re living with knee pain or know that you need an orthopedic surgeon to replace one of your knees, call M.O.S.T. Metro Orthopedics & Sports Therapy today or make an appointment online for a state-of-the-art partial or total knee replacement.