Partial Knee Replacement

Partial Knee Replacement

At the recent American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 75th annual meeting in San Francisco, California, the use of partial knee replacement was reviewed. Unicompartmental or partial knee replacements have been around for quite some time. They can be utilized for typically the medial compartment or inside compartment of the knee and also for the patellofemoral joint.

Manufacturers are now looking a combining a partial knee with a patellofemoral replacement in an attempt to replace two out of the three compartments sparing the uninvolved third compartment. Whether or not these partial replacements will equal or exceed the results of total knee replacement remains to be seen. Ten year plus results of unicompartmental replacement from a variety of centers have shown excellent results and are a reasonable option for that group of patients (10%), who are candidates for partial knee replacement. While partial knee replacement is an attractive alternative, it at times can be a more challenging procedure. Patients considering this should ask their surgeon how experienced they are in this type of procedure, as it is certainly less common than total knee arthroplasty.

About The Author

Valley Medical Center's Marketing and Community Outreach Office


  1. Stu Robertson

    Hi — I attended the Joint Center’s 8th Annual Patient Reunion today, and I cannot find the site on the internet where you said I could add my email address to pick up regular email messages from the joint center. I went to and did not find anything. Did I miss it?

    I also have an accomplishment a year after my hip replacement that I’d like to relate.


    Stu Robertson

  2. Galen Allen

    I have been examined & told that I need a lateral unicompartmental arthroplasty. Do you do these, & if so, how many have you done in the past year?


    Galen Allen

  3. Dr. William Barrett

    Dear Galen,
    Thanks for your question regarding partial knee replacement. Partial knee replacements are indicated in approximately 10% to 15% of patients undergoing knee replacement surgery. Lateral compartment unicompartmental replacements are certainly less common as they often involve a more robust exposure when compared to the medial compartment. Also, you cannont use a mobile-bearing type of unicompartmental replacement of the lateral compartment of the knee. Because of these factors, I tend to use a total knee replacement more commonly in patients with lateral compartment osteoarthritis, but have done a lateral compartment unicompartmental knee replacement on a once a year basis, which is significatly lower than the number we do in the medial compartment.
    Regards, William Barrett

  4. Galen Allen

    I have an appointment with you for evaluation on 23 Dec. & will discuss the options after you have examined me.

    Thanks, Galen Allen