Wednesday, 14 of November of 2018

Tag » Knee Resurfacing

Total Knee Replacement vs. Partial Knee Replacement or Resurfacing – What’s the Difference?

If pain and stiffness in your knees is starting to make getting around increasingly difficult, the first step is to consult with an orthopedic surgeon. After tests confirm a diagnosis of osteoarthritis, the next step is to discuss your options with the doctor.

You might be surprised to learn that thanks to advances in technology, there are new options that are available as an alternative to total knee replacement. Younger patients and those with less advanced disease may be good candidates for an innovative technique called partial knee replacement or partial knee resurfacing.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “most patients report that a partial knee replacement feels more natural and that the knee may bend better” than with a total knee replacement.

Whether you qualify as a candidate for a partial knee will depend primarily on the extent of damage from osteoarthritis.

Anatomy of the Knee

The knee has three compartments – an inside or medial compartment; an outside or lateral compartment; and a front or patellar (the kneecap) compartment. In some patients, damage from osteoarthritis may affect only one or two compartments of the knee, rather than all three. And for these patients, a partial knee replacement may be a good choice.

A partial knee is a minimally invasive procedure that replaces only one or two compartments of the knee, leaving the cartilage, ligaments and bone in other areas of the knee that are healthy intact. Most of the time, it is the medial and patellar, rather than the lateral compartments that are replaced or resurfaced.

During the procedure, the surgeon removes the damaged cartilage, as well as some bone from the tibia and femur, (the upper and lower leg bones). Then the ends of the bones are reshaped to accept the new implant. 

In contrast, a total knee replacement removes damaged tissue from all three compartments of the knee — replacing the entire joint with artificial implants.

Advantages & Disadvantages

There are many advantages to partial knee replacement or resurfacing, including:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Less trauma to the body
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Shorter hospitalization
  • Faster recovery time
  • Less need for physical therapy
  • Gentle exercises at home and walking restore mobility

What are the disadvantages? The biggest concern is the potential for cartilage in the remaining compartments to deteriorate at some point in the future, which would then require additional surgery.

To find out whether you might be a candidate for partial knee replacement, call Dr. Kagan at 239-936-6778 or go to For a more detail explanation on how the procedure is performed, go to

Unicompartmental Knee Resurfacing

 If knee pain keeps you on the sidelines and prevents you from enjoying golf, running, tennis or even walking the dog, it may be time to consider surgery. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may have more than one option to treat the pain and disability. 

Unicompartmental Knee Resurfacing is a less invasive alternative to total knee replacement. Instead of replacing the entire knee joint, this procedure treats only the potion of the femur and the tibia that have been damaged by arthritis, conserving the rest of the knee. Other advantages include less blood loss and faster recovery.

The procedure is done arthroscopically using a small endoscopic tube with a video camera attached that transmits images in real-time to a monitor, allowing the physician to clearly see inside the knee joint.

The first step is to remove the arthritic portions of the end of the femur, along with damaged meniscus. The femur is the thighbone or upper bone in the leg. The meniscus is the smooth covering of cartilage that protects the end of both the femur and tibia.

Next, the surgeon resurfaces the end of the femur and applies a special type of bone cement, pressing the new femoral implant into place. The surgeon then applies cement to the end of the tibia (the thigh bone) and the new tibial implant is pressed into place. Finally, a third implant is inserted between the femoral and tibial implants and the knee is tested to make sure that the patient can extend and flex the knee with good range of motion.

 If you have knee pain that doesn’t respond to nonsurgical therapy, ask whether you may be a candidate for unicompartmental knee resurfacing. To view a patient education video and brochure about the procedure, go to

What is Knee Resurfacing?

Knee resurfacing is a new minimally invasive procedure that is a good alternative to total knee replacement. There are many advantages to knee resurfacing, including faster healing and return to an active lifestyle in just four to eight weeks, rather than 12 weeks for joint replacement surgery.

 Other benefits include:

Short hospital stay of just one to three days

A small incision

Only the damaged or arthritic parts of the knee are treated, rather than replacing the entire knee joint

 There are two types of knee resurfacing – partial knee resurfacing and full knee resurfacing. Which type is best for you will depend on the extent of your arthritis and the damage it has done to the cartilage, the fibrous tissue that cushions the bones and prevents them from rubbing together. In early stages of arthritis, only one side or compartment of the knee may be affected. For these patients, a partial knee resurfacing is usually recommended. Cartilage that is damaged on both sides of the knee will require a full knee resurfacing.

 During resurfacing, the surgeon will trim and reshape the ends of the bones, removing jagged edges or bony spurs caused by the arthritis. Then the damaged cartilage will be replaced with an implant, which is cemented into place on the reshaped bone.

 If your doctor has suggested you may need surgery to due to knee pain from arthritis, ask if you might be a candidate for resurfacing. For more information about joint resurfacing, go to

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