Who are candidates for a knee replacement?

Who are candidates for a knee replacement?

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]I am often asked who is a candidate for a full replacement, a partial replacement or even the less common Patellofemoral replacement. The answer all depends on the part of the knee that is damaged.

Physicians see the knee as three separate compartments; Medial (inside compartment), Lateral (Outside compartment) and Patellofemoral (behind the knee cap). We identify the parts of the knee that are damaged using x-rays and MRI testing.


Photo credit: AAOS Ortho Info




Most people come to see us with advanced stage arthritis and all three compartments are worn out. In this situation, a total knee replacement is recommended.

The advantages of having a total knee replacement are:

  • Freedom from pain
  • Improved mobility
  • Improved quality of life because everyday activities and exercise are easier.

There are limitations to the activities you can perform after surgery. Implants have not yet been perfected to allow a person to return to vigorous activities such as football, basketball or lacrosse. If you do attempt these activities, the wear of the plastic component is at risk and a lot of pressure is put on the soft tissue surrounding the knee, which will cause a significant amount of pain.

I would recommend a partial knee replacement if the imaging studies show that the inside (medial) compartment of the knee is damaged and the rest of the knee is intact. There are several advantages to having a partial replacement over a full replacement. Advantages include:

  • Less invasive
  • Same day surgery – patient will be discharged on the afternoon of surgery
  • Less discomfort
  • Less tissue dissection
  • Recovery is more rapid

A lot of people experience significant damage to their Patellofemoral Compartment but the rest of the knee is usually intact. Therefore I’ll recommend a Patellofemoral Replacement. The procedure is performed as a day surgery, its less intrusive than a total knee replacement and has a much faster recovery time.

Remember, prevention is better than a cure. People who experience knee pain should visit a doctor before the pain becomes unbearable so that the best outcomes can be achieved.



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