If the arthritis in your knee is confined to one area, and your ligaments are intact, a partial knee replacement is a good option that feels more natural and lasts as long as a total knee replacement.
Dr. Scott Appell is one of the first orthopedic surgeons in Alabama to use the Oxford system, which is the most well studied partial knee replacement in the world. He has continued to do a growing number of these partial knee replacements since 2000, and has more experience with Oxford partial knees than anyone in the state.
In addition to partial knee replacement, Dr. Appell’s areas of expertise include minimally invasive anterior hip replacement, robotic total knee replacement, and total shoulder replacement. He and his team achieve consistently excellent results with predominantly outpatient joint replacement, which allows most patients to return home the same day, fully prepared to manage their recovery with the team’s support.
His Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) approach, which avoids narcotics during surgery and addresses pain management with minimal to no opiates, enables patients to recover quickly, be active immediately, and resume independence as soon as possible.
What is partial knee replacement surgery?
When arthritis wears away cartilage in several sections of the knee ─ to the point that bone rubs against bone ─ a total knee replacement will relieve pain and restore function and stability.
The knee has three compartments:
- The medial, or inner, compartment
- The lateral, or outer, compartment
- The patellofemoral joint, which is situated where the kneecap rests in front of the femur, or thighbone
If degenerative arthritis is affecting only one section, while other compartments remain healthy, a less invasive partial knee replacement can replace only the part that is damaged.
In order to qualify for this procedure, a patient must meet strict criteria:
- Both the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments, which stabilize and control the front and back motion of your knee, must be intact.
- You must have osteoarthritis in a single compartment of the knee.
- You cannot have rheumatoid arthritis, or a metabolic disease which would cause arthritis to progress to another area over time.
Partial Knee Replacement Benefits
- Partial knee replacement is a 20–30-minute, same-day procedure with a smaller scar than a total knee replacement.
- Patients recover and regain motion quickly.
- Typically, patients can walk with a cane and begin physical therapy to maximize range of motion within days of surgery.
- With a left partial knee replacement, patients can drive 2-3 days after surgery.
- With a right partial knee replacement, patients can drive in a couple of weeks.
- A partial knee replacement feels more natural, and often functions better, because the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments remain intact.
- Active patients can return to just about any sport, without restriction, within 6 weeks.
- It is a definitive operation, which should last 20 years or more (the same as a total knee).
Enhanced Recovery After Surgery
Dr. Appell and his team utilize an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) system developed by the ERAS Society to minimize opiate use, reduce recovery time and improve patient outcomes.
This begins with educating patients thoroughly to make sure they understand what their surgery entails, what to expect when they return home, and the general timeline for recovery.
- Spinal anesthetics allow Dr. Appell’s team to operate without narcotics.
- Propofol puts patients in a twilight stage.
- Spinal anesthetics last for two hours so that patients don’t wake up in pain.
- Eliminating narcotics eliminates the post-op nausea and vomiting that has prevented people from going home post-surgery.
Post-surgery pain management:
- A nerve block injected into the knee reduces pain for 48 to 72 hours after surgery.
- Nerve medication, Tylenol, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) limit the need for opiates.
- An icing machine, connected to a wrap that encircles the leg, pumps ice water around the knee to reduce swelling.
Partial Knee Replacement in the Birmingham, Alabama
Dr. Scott Appell, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, is one of the first surgeons in Alabama to use the Oxford partial knee system, considered to be the gold standard for partial knee replacement because of its mobile bearing, which has been shown to have greater longevity than those with a fixed bearing. Close to 25% of his knee replacement patients qualify for this less invasive, partial knee option, and he has done more Oxford knee procedures than anyone in the state. If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Appell, please call (205) 397-5200 or book an appointment online.