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Frisch Ortho Hip and Knee Specialist
  • Rochester
    River District

Partial vs Total Knee Replacement: What’s the Difference?

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Partial vs Total Knee Replacement: What’s the Difference?
Partial vs Total Knee Replacement: What’s the Difference?

Knee replacement is considered the gold standard treatment for individuals experiencing severe knee pain and disability due to degenerative joint disease that has not responded to conservative management. Some patients might benefit from total knee replacement while others may do better with partial knee replacement. Here are the differences between these two treatment options.



The knee joint has three compartments - a medial compartment on the inner aspect of the knee, a front compartment (under the knee cap), and a lateral compartment on the outer side of the knee.





In a many patients, arthritis may affect only one of these compartments, most commonly the inner (medial) compartment. Such patients may be candidates for partial knee replacement where only the affected compartment is replaced. Most of the structures within the knee joint, including the ligaments that stabilize the knee are preserved with this surgery.





Benefits of partial knee replacement:





  • Less cutting of bone and soft tissues

  • Anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments are left intact

  • Gives more natural range of motion of the joint

  • Faster recovery






Total knee replacement is usually done when the disease has affected more than one knee compartment. All 3 compartments are replaced and the anterior cruciate ligament is excised for proper placement of the implant components.





Patients that have rheumatoid (or other inflammatory-type) arthritis, which tends to affect all knee compartments or osteoarthritis that has affected more than one knee compartment may need to undergo total knee replacement.





If knee pain is interfering with your routine activities and does not seem to be getting better with conservative treatments, you might be a candidate for knee replacement. Book an appointment for an in-depth evaluation and a personalized treatment recommendation.





Dr. Frisch is an orthopedic surgeon focusing on minimally invasive hip and knee joint replacement as well as regenerative treatments for enhanced healing. He believes in creating a very personalized experience with the highest level of service. For all appointments & inquiries, please contact our offices located in Rochester and River District, MI.



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  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • American Medical Association
  • American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons
  • Mid-America Orthopaedic Association
  • Michigan Institute for Advanced Surgery Center
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