Age is one of the great equalizers- across every walk of life, as we get old it is not uncommon for our joints to break down. Arthritis is biggest culprit.
“The cartilage that lines the knee surface wears out. And the end result of that, when the bones are rubbing together, is implant surgery for the knee,” explains Dr. Fletcher Reynolds. He is an orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.
One of the most frequently performed orthopedic surgeries, it involves resurfacing-or smoothing the damaged bone, then capping the ends to reduce friction. Making up for the lost cartilage.
“When all the cartilage in the knee starts wearing together, those are the people who would benefit from a total knee replacement.”
A smaller subset of patients can benefit from a smaller variation of this procedure. Called a partial or unicompartmental knee replacement, it offers joint relief while leaving much of the knee untouched. It is only suitable in people with limited arthritis.
“Patient selection is the most important thing. If the arthritis is isolated to either the inside or the outside part of the knee then partial knee can be considered,” says Dr. Fletcher.
Once surgery is complete, patients are left with more natural feel and movement.
“Some of the ligaments that we sacrifice with knee replacement surgery are retained as well as the other cartilage surfaces.”
Performed as an outpatient procedure or with a minimal hospital stay, the partial knee replacement delivers complete results.