Partial knee replacement (PKR), also known as unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA), is a surgical procedure designed to address arthritis and joint damage in one part of the knee while preserving the healthy portions of the joint. There are different types of partial knee replacement surgeries, each targeting specific compartments of the knee. The main distinctions lie in the areas of the knee that are replaced and the surgical techniques employed. The three primary types of partial knee replacement surgeries are:
Medial Unicompartmental Knee Replacement (MUKR)
Medial unicompartmental knee replacement involves the replacement of the damaged medial (inner) compartment of the knee. The knee joint has three main compartments: medial, lateral, and patellofemoral. MUKR is considered when arthritis primarily affects the medial compartment, leaving the lateral and patellofemoral compartments relatively healthy. This procedure aims to preserve as much natural knee anatomy as possible.
Lateral Unicompartmental Knee Replacement (LUKR)
Lateral unicompartmental knee replacement focuses on replacing the damaged lateral (outer) compartment of the knee. Like MUKR, LUKR is selected when arthritis is primarily confined to the lateral compartment, and the other compartments remain relatively unaffected. This approach allows for targeted treatment of the affected area while preserving the healthy portions of the knee.
Patellofemoral Unicompartmental Knee Replacement (PFKR)
Patellofemoral unicompartmental knee replacement targets the patellofemoral compartment, which is the area where the kneecap (patella) articulates with the thigh bone (femur). This procedure is chosen when arthritis is predominantly present in the patellofemoral compartment, with the medial and lateral compartments being less affected. PFKR is a specialized approach that addresses issues specific to the patellofemoral joint.
Key Differences in PKRs
The primary difference between these partial knee replacement surgeries lies in the specific compartment of the knee that is replaced. MUKR targets the medial compartment, LUKR addresses the lateral compartment, and PFKR focuses on the patellofemoral compartment. The choice of procedure depends on the location and extent of arthritis within the knee.
The selection of the appropriate partial knee replacement surgery depends on the individual patient’s anatomy, the pattern of arthritis, and the health of the different knee compartments. A thorough evaluation, including imaging studies and clinical assessment, is essential to determine the most suitable procedure for each patient.
The recovery and rehabilitation processes are generally similar for all partial knee replacement surgeries. However, the specific demands on the knee may vary based on the replaced compartment. Physical therapy and rehabilitation programs are customized to address the unique challenges and goals associated with each procedure.
Long-term outcomes and durability of the implants are influenced by various factors, including the patient’s adherence to postoperative care and rehabilitation. While partial knee replacements are generally associated with positive outcomes, the longevity of the implants can be influenced by factors such as patient activity level, overall joint health, and proper implant alignment.
Partial knee replacement surgeries offer a targeted and less invasive option for addressing localized arthritis in the knee. The choice between MUKR, LUKR, or PFKR is based on careful consideration of the patient’s unique condition and the affected knee compartments. Each procedure aims to preserve natural anatomy, enhance joint function, and provide long-term relief from arthritis-related symptoms. At the Robotic Joint Center in NYC, we offer the most advanced options for partial knee replacement procedures. Contact our medical center to schedule a knee joint replacement consultation.