Partial Knee Replacement in Seattle, WA
For patients with active lifestyles, osteoarthritis can be a debilitating diagnosis that wears away at the bones and causes immense pain. A degenerative condition also known as "wear-and-tear arthritis", osteoarthritis worsens over time as it breaks down the joint's protective cartilage. Protective cartilage is integral to musculoskeletal function, as it allows a joint to move through its range of motion without experiencing friction. Without it, bone wears against bone, making movement extremely painful.
Because the knee is a weight-bearing joint, it is one of the most commonly afflicted joints experiencing musculoskeletal problems, including osteoarthritis. Carrying excess weight can put significant strain on the joint, leading to an early degradation of the knee's components. Additionally, injury to the cartilage that lines the inside of the knee, known as the menisci, can eventually lead to deterioration of the joint, as the knee is less capable of protecting against routine wear-and-tear.
Treating Osteoarthritis with Knee Replacement
Knee replacement is often an effective solution for many patients experiencing problems related to arthritis. Knee replacement, as one of the safest surgical procedures performed today, can restore a patient's range of motion, while reducing the amount of pain associated with movement. The procedure involves the removal of the damaged, arthritic joint, and replacement with a prosthetic implant, made of metal, ceramics, and durable plastic components. Patients pursuing knee replacement for arthritis generally report an increase in health-related quality of life, returning to the activities that were once painful, such as jogging, gardening, or playing sports.
Minimally Invasive Knee Surgery: Partial Knee Replacement
Many patients my be eligible for a minimally invasive approach to knee replacement that preserves healthy bone and can potentially provide a more natural feeling implant. When arthritis is confined to a single compartment within the knee, partial knee replacement (unicompartmental knee arthroplasty) may be a viable solution. This approach is preferred for patients who still want to pursue an active lifestyle after removal of the arthritic knee tissue.
How Partial Knee Replacement Differs from Total Knee Replacement
Partial knee replacement is similar to total knee replacement; however, instead of replacing the entire knee joint, the orthopedic surgeon will instead resurface only the arthritic compartment and leave the healthy bone intact. The surgeon then inserts the implant, which is significantly smaller than a total knee implant.
Patients who are candidates for partial knee replacement should be:
- Not significantly overweight
- Have intact knee ligaments
- Experiencing pain in only one area of the knee
Minimally Invasive Knee Surgery in Seattle, WA
Not everyone is a candidate for partial knee replacement. It is estimated that less than one in ten patients is eligible for partial knee replacement; however, a surgeon can best determine a treatment option that best suits the patient.
Dr. James Pritchett is one of the Seattle area’s most renowned knee surgeons, and has been in practice serving the Seattle area for more than twenty years. Dr. Pritchett has designed several knee prostheses including one of the most widely used prostheses in the world. Dr. Pritchett is a Board-certified surgeon, specializing in joint replacement, computer-assisted surgery, and ligament-retaining knee replacement surgery.
To learn more about treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee, schedule an appointment with Dr. Pritchett at his Seattle office located in the Cabrini Medical Tower and the Evergreen Surgery & Physician Center in Kirkland.
Last Modified: July 30, 2014