Advances in Knee Replacements

This new design allows surgeons to preserve the important central ligaments of the knee called the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments. This design should allow a knee replacement to move, respond, and feel more like a normal knee.

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The Anterior Hip

Patients are being told by both surgeons and orthopedic implant companies that Anterior Hip Replacement approach offers something unique and different compared to other approaches. This is a flatly untrue, unscientifically supported myth...

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Outpatient Joint Replacement

With Outpatient Joint Replacement Surgery, patients are able to return home the same day as the procedure. Patients also begin physical therapy within hours of surgery.

Learn more about Outpatient Joint Replacement »

What is a Partial Knee Replacement?

close up of legs during hike outdoorsThe knee is made up of three main sections: the medial, lateral, and patellofemoral. Any or all of these components may be subject to wear-and-tear or injury-induced damage, which will likely result in significant pain and restricted joint movement. If all three sections are significantly damaged, a total knee replacement will likely be recommended; however, whenever possible, a partial knee replacement will be applied for the repair of a single component.

A partial replacement approach is most often recommended for younger and/or healthier patients, who suffer from lower levels of general joint wear-and-tear. During this procedure, a larger amount of natural bone is maintained, allowing for successful regrowth and knee stabilization. In some cases, individuals undergoing a partial knee replacement will become candidates for a total joint replacement approach later in life.

The Benefits of Partial Replacement

As a smaller area of the knee is removed and more original bone preserved, patients undergoing partial replacement operations (rather than more invasive approaches) often report faster recovery times with lower levels of associated pain. Likewise, surgical teams report that less blood is lost during these surgeries, allowing for reduced needs for transfusion procedures.

In addition, patients attest to partial knee procedures resulting in joints that are more natural feeling and easily bent. Both of these qualities result from the surgical approach retaining more of the knee’s inherent bone, cartilage, and ligament structures than is achieved during a total replacement.

Diagnosis and Recommendation

Based on the history and severity of symptoms, Dr. Ballard will determine whether partial knee replacement is a viable surgical option. If any of the following are present, this procedure may be recommended:

  • Difficulty completing everyday physical activities (i.e. walking, standing, driving, etc.)
  • Pain that radiates through the knee and surround areas (calf and lower thigh)
  • Difficulty bending and/or extending the knee joint

In addition to taking a health history, Dr. Ballard will complete strength and range of motion assessments in order to determine ligament stability. An x-ray and/or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may also be recommended to determine whether any other factors are influencing the symptoms experienced.

The Partial Replacement Operation

The typical partial knee replacement surgery lasts 1–2 hours in length, not including pre-op anesthesia or post-op recovery. Dr. Ballard will remove cartilage from the damaged compartment, capping both the femur and tibia’s ends with a prosthetic covering. Bone cement will be used to adhere the replacement piece in place, allowing for the creation of a smooth joint surface.

Based on the unique case, a hospital or healthcare facility stay of 1–3 days will likely be recommended. Once released, it will be important to follow Dr. Ballard’s recommended regimen for rehabilitation and the avoidance of re-injury. In most cases, anti-inflammatory and pain medications will be prescribed, as well as a schedule of physical therapy and at-home exercise efforts.

While the risks associated with partial knee replacement are rare, contact Dr. Ballard if any of the following symptoms occur:

  • Swelling or unusual redness of the incision site
  • Continued and/or increased pain
  • Fever and/or chills

In most cases, the majority of usual everyday activities can be resumed within 6 weeks of surgery.

Partial Knee Replacement in Portland OR

An expert in partial and total knee replacement procedures, Dr. Ballard utilizes the most advanced techniques available. To schedule an appointment, contact his Oregon City, OR practice at 503.656.0836.