What is Unicondylar Knee Replacement?

Janice CarsonJanice Carson

When patients receive a diagnosis of arthritis, some start worrying about future surgery. While it is true that doctors sometimes treat arthritis and other knee problems with surgery, this does not occur in all cases. Unicondylar knee replacement surgery usually occurs in extreme cases when the arthritis completely incapacitates the patient. Unless you have trouble walking or living your life, your doctor might never suggest unicondylar knee replacement surgery. Even if you do undergo unicondylar knee replacement surgery, the process keeps you as safe as possible.

The Unicondylar Knee Replacement uses a small device that mimics the look of a human knee. This piece fits over your knee, giving you complete freedom and mobility. The unicondylar knee replacement begins with a visit to the hospital. The doctor gives you anesthesia, which puts you to sleep during the operation. He makes several small incisions in the skin around the knee to remove the skin and gain access to your knee. The doctor removes the damaged areas of the knee, replacing those areas with the artificial device. You typically sleep for several hours after the unicondylar knee replacement takes place.

Most patients experience some mild discomfort and pain following the unicondylar knee replacement surgery. Doctors treat the pain with medications that reduce pain and inflammation. You must use crutches for a few days or weeks after the surgery, which keeps you from putting too much weight on your knee. Rest is an important part of follow up care after the unicondylar knee replacement. Most doctors recommend that you stay off your feet for one week or more after the surgery. You can get comfortable by placing a pillow or cushion under your knee. The unicondylar knee replacement restores the natural shape of your knee.

After the Unicondylar Knee Replacement, you slowly incorporate activity into your daily routine. Some doctors even suggest that you start stretching your knee just a few days after the surgery. Unicondylar knee replacement is an effective way to get back the flexibility and mobility that your knee had during your younger years. Up to 90 percent of all patients experience dramatic improvement after the surgery and a large number of those patients experience no problems for ten years or longer after the surgery, if you think that unicondylar knee replacement is a suitable option for you, contact your doctor. Your doctor can discuss the pros and cons with you on this type of surgery.