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.