A knee replacement is a common surgery for people who suffer from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or from a traumatic knee injury. There are three types of knee replacement surgeries; total knee replacement, partial knee replacement, and knee resurfacing. Listed below are the differences between the three.
A total knee replacement surgery replaces part of your femur (thigh bone), knee cap, and tibia (shin bone) with metal implants. The damaged cartilage and bone is replaced with metal components that are cemented or “press-fit” into the bone to recreate the surface of the joint. Plastic spacers are inserted between the components to provide a smooth gliding surface.
A partial knee replacement, also known as a unicompartmental knee replacement, is a more conservative option. The surgeon will treat one or two of the compartments of the knee removing most of the damaged areas of cartilage from the joint and leave the healthy parts for continued use. Generally there is a smaller incision and a faster recovery time.
Knee resurfacing replaces only the damaged surface areas of the joint. This generally results in fewer anesthesias and a shortened surgery time. The damaged bone is removed and the surgeon fits the implant to that bone.