UCLA Orthopaedic Surgery
1250 16th Street, Suite 2100, Santa Monica, CA 90404
Patient Coordinator: (424) 259-8179
Appointments: (310) 319-1234
Additional offices in Encino and Thousand Oaks

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Think You Might Need a Total Knee Replacement? Maybe Not!

When suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee, every step you take can be a painful reminder of your limited mobility. Doctors typically advise conservative treatment such as physical therapy, pain medications, and injections before suggesting a surgical solution. If these methods have failed and you are dreading the thought of having your knee replaced, you can be sure you are not alone. Hardly anyone will voluntarily opt for total knee replacement if there is any other viable option available. With the advances made in the field of knee replacement surgery, you may have that option – Partial Knee Replacement.

Statistics show that partial knee replacement has been associated with lower risks and complications when compared to total knee replacement. A key feature of partial knee replacement is that only the damaged portion of the knee is replaced. Most of the healthy parts of the knee are left intact. The cruciate ligaments which help stabilize the knee are also not removed and many of the neurological pathways are not interrupted.

With more of the bone, ligaments, and soft tissues being spared you can expect a quicker recovery, less pain, and faster return to activities of daily living. You may be out of bed and walking within 2-3 hours after surgery and back to normal activity within 2 months. The surgical scar is also smaller with this type of surgery.  Partial knee replacements are also easier to perform than in the past due to the improvement in imaging technology that allows the surgeon to visualize the inside the knee on computer screen while performing the surgery.

The attraction of a partial knee replacement, when performed for a suitable candidate, is that it feels almost like a natural knee. Studies have shown that about 10-15% of people who are knee replacement candidates may be suitable for partial knee replacement. To be a candidate, your arthritis must be limited to a small portion of your knee and your tendons and ligaments need to be in good condition. By performing a complete physical examination and appropriate imaging studies, your orthopedic surgeon will be able to determine if you are a good candidate for a partial knee replacement.

Erik N. Zeegen, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, is one of Southern California’s leading joint replacement surgeons. His practice is focused on hip and knee replacement surgery, including revising hip and knee replacements that have failed. http://www.socaljointreplacement.com/