Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the oldest and most common forms of arthritis. It causes the cartilage normally found in joints to break down. The breakdown removes the buffer between bones and the resulting bone-against-bone friction causing pain and eventual loss of movement.
Total Knee Replacement (TKR), is a safe and effective treatment for severe osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. Owing to its irreversible nature, the surgery is recommended only in patients for whom other treatment modalities have failed. The procedure has a higher risk of failure in young patients aged 50 years and below. Besides, complications of total joint replacement surgery include prosthetic loosening, wearing of the polyethylene insert, infection, and fractures. Hence for patients who are younger i.e. below 50 years, a less-invasive surgical alternative should be thoroughly weighed against those of total knee arthroplasty. Dr. Neelam Ramana Reddy, Chief Joint replacement surgeon and Director at Star Hospital, Hyderabad says that “removing the whole package is, on a technical level, an easier maneuver than splicing away at one small section of the knee.”
Unicompartmental knee replacement: A revolution in knee joint surgery for young patients
This surgery is indicated in cases where OA involves only one of the three compartments of the knees. This surgery allows the patient to retain more than 70% of their original joint surface and ligaments and hence, the patient gets a very “natural knee“ like feeling while allowing them unrestricted movements and activities. This provides them with an experience that is far more satisfactory than that after a TKR.
Since this procedure involves implanting smaller implants, the surgery is performed using minimally invasive techniques. Other benefits include
• Earlier mobilization
• Less pain
• Reduced length of hospital stay (One day)
• Less blood loss
Since all the ligaments are retained hence a more normal feeling post-surgery.
A successful Uni-Knee replacement may delay, and in some cases, prevent a more extensive knee replacement surgery. Dr. Neelam Ramana Reddy adds that there are time tested partial knee implants available in India today.