This surgery is an alternative to the whole knee being replaced. 90% of patients have arthritis and thus pain on the inside of the knee. If you don't have pain on the outside or the front (patella) of your knee and your disease is mild on arthritis classification, you may be suitable for a half a knee replacement. The criteria for patient selection are strict. Not all patients with knee arthritis qualify for half a knee replacement. The benefits of half a knee replacements are as follows:
- Small incision and there is no need to cut the muscle of the thigh to get into the knee
- Bone preserving - only the inside of the knee is opened and the bone ends cut
- All the knee ligaments are preserved
- Accelerated recovery - three weeks as opposed to six weeks
So in summary, this operation provides you with the same level of pain relief as a total knee replacement but with a much faster recovery, a more natural feeling knee (ligaments preserved) with the same range of movement as before the surgery.The disadvantage of this surgery is that the other parts of the knee will continue to degenerate at their pace and eventually fail, causing pain elsewhere. This may take 8-10 years if the patient has been selected appropriately. At this stage, the half knee can be converted to a total knee having full bone stock on the outside and the front of the knee.Ask your surgeon if he/she provides this option as this surgery is technically very demanding and not all surgeons have learned to perform it. If your surgeon does not perform this surgery, then find one that does and find out if you are suitable. If you are not, then that puts your mind at rest and then you should go back to your original surgeon who suggested a Total Knee Replacement.