Knee Resurfacing and Partial Knee Replacement

One of the premier alternatives of total knee replacement surgery is a relatively new treatment technology called knee resurfacing. We offer it at Orthopaedic & Spine Center (OSC). It is also referred to as partial knee replacement, Partial Knee Arthroplasty (PKA) or Uni-Compartmental Knee Replacement.

What makes knee resurfacing different from total knee replacement is that only the compartments of the knee that are worn, often due to arthritis. It is the preferred surgical method of treatment for more physically active or younger patients who no longer have cartilage in certain areas of the knee. The benefits are more evident post-surgery. Knee resurfacing offers the patient a faster recovery time and a higher likelihood of returning to a more vigorous level of physical activity.

During PKA, any bone spurs and jagged edges typically caused by arthritis are removed or trimmed back by the surgeon. The damaged portion of the knee may be replaced during the operation, leaving the undamaged part of the joint intact. After recovery from this procedure, the patient is left with a less painful knee and capability for a more active lifestyle.

Knee Resurfacing and Implant Technology

New Computed Tomography (CT) technology enables a simple scan to assist in the creation of a three-dimensional model of a patient’s knee. This anatomically-correct custom model is used by the manufacturer to fabricate any knee implant replacements needed for the resurfacing procedure. The purpose of this CT is different from the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or CT scan traditionally used for other knee replacement procedures. In this case, a replica of the patient’s knee is developed, enabling the replacement components to have an accurate size, shape and fit. No pre-fabricated cutting blocks or implants are used. Once the custom implants are formulated, the manufacturer sends a disposable guide and cutting block to ensure precise positioning and fit during the procedure.

In the other method, which is still sometimes used by other surgeons in the country, the scan is compared to a pre-fabricated model in one of several standard forms and sizes. The model that most closely resembles the patient’s knee is then used for the replacement. During surgery, the patient’s knee is cut down to fit the prosthetic replacement model.

Which Patients Are Good Candidates for PKA?

While this procedure is not the answer for all patients, there are some guidelines that should be met by patients considering knee resurfacing.

  • An intact Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) surrounding the kneecap
  • Arthritis on no more than two compartments of the knee
  • A body mass index (BMI) below 30

Benefits of Partial Knee Replacement

Your orthopedist may recommend a partial knee replacement. Some advantages over a traditional total knee replacement include:

  • Knee feels more natural
  • Less tissue damage and bleeding
  • Shorter recovery time post-surgery
  • A wider range of motion, achieved more quickly
  • Less pain associated with knee musculature recovery
  • An incision that’s approximately two inches shorter, creating a smaller scar
  • Less natural bone and cartilage is removed to achieve a proper implant fit.
  • Knee resurfacing allows for an easier conversion If injury or arthritis causes a total knee replacement to be necessary at a later time.

Call OSC today at (757) 596-1900 to set up an appointment for a consultation for a knee resurfacing procedure. Our office is located at 250 Nat Turner Boulevard in Newport News, Virginia. Click here for directions.