Partial knee replacement, also known as unicompartmental knee replacement or arthroplasty (UKR or UKA) refers to the surgical procedure in which only a portion of a damaged knee joint is replaced with artificial material. It is an alternative to total knee replacement for patients whose disease is limited to just one area of the knee.Enquire Now
If you have decided to have a knee replacement surgery, the doctor will discuss anaesthesia options with you (either general or spinal) and also run other tests to determine whether you have any other medical conditions that need to be treated beforehand. Other things to expect are:
The patient is first given anesthesia (either general or spinal). After the anesthesia has taken effect, the skin around the knee is thoroughly scrubbed with an antiseptic fluid. The knee is bent about 90 degrees and the lower portion of the leg, including the foot, is placed in a special device to securely hold it in place during the surgery. An incision is made at the front of your knee and the surgeon will inspect the joint to confirm that the damage is limited to only one compartment. After that, the surgeon will perform a partial knee replacement. The steps are outlined below:
After surgery, you may be given medications to ease the pain and encouraged to begin mild full-weight-bearing physical activity on the affected leg, usually in the same afternoon as the day of the surgery. You will probably be discharged from the hospital in 2-3 days.
As for the recovery process, it will vary from person to person. In general, you can expect around 2 weeks for the surgical wound to heal. You may require the help of walking aids to get around for about 4 weeks.
During that time, attending physiotherapy sessions and doing knee exercises are highly recommended so that you can restore strength and mobility to your knees.
While the success rate for knee replacement surgery is high, you should still follow up with an orthopaedic clinic regularly so that your progress can be monitored and any complications can be dealt with swiftly.
Unicompartmental knee replacement is generally a safe procedure. The risk of major complication after total knee replacement is <1%. Risks of UKR include getting blood clots in the legs or pelvis, infection in the surgical wound, and the need for additional surgery if osteoarthritis progresses to other compartments of the knee. Your surgeon will discuss all the risks with you and will take all the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of complications.
Dr Tan Sok Chuen is an orthopaedic surgery specialist with subspecialty training in hip and knee surgery – making her the first female hip and knee replacement surgeon in Singapore. She has trained and educated junior doctors through various teaching programmes and courses. Dr Tan has also made many contributions to the scientific literature on hip and knee arthroplasty and her publications on trunnionosis in hip replacements are frequently quoted in indexed journals.
Dr Adrian Lau is a specialist orthopaedic surgeon trained in primary and complex hip and knee arthroplasty. His clinical practice comprises mainly of total knee replacements, total hip replacements, complex hip and knee replacements, revision surgeries, prosthetic joint infections, and periprosthetic fractures. Dr Lau also plays an active role in the education and training of junior doctors and is a recipient of numerous awards, one of them being the Ministry of Health Training Award in 2014.
Our doctors are trained and highly experienced in diagnosing and treating orthopaedics conditions. We aim to provide you with quality care by thoroughly assessing your condition and personalising your treatments to your needs and goals.