Unicompartmental Knee Replacement by Dr. Herrick J. Siegel

When knee arthritis is confined to just one area of the joint, unicompartmental or partial knee replacement can be an effective option to relieve pain and restore function. As an expert in joint reconstruction surgery, Dr. Herrick J. Siegel leverages over 21 years of experience performing partial knee replacements to deliver excellent outcomes for appropriately selected patients.

Understanding Unicompartmental Knee Arthritis

The knee joint contains three compartments: the inner or medial compartment, the outer or lateral compartment, and the kneecap or patellofemoral compartment. Knee arthritis frequently affects just one compartment initially, with the medial side most often impacted first.

As cartilage breaks down, the bones rub directly against each other causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of smooth motion. If nonsurgical treatments cannot adequately relieve symptoms, partial knee replacement may be an option to address damage isolated to a single knee compartment.

When Partial Knee Replacement is Appropriate

Partial knee replacement resurfaces just the damaged surfaces within one compartment, sparing healthy areas. Potential candidates for this less invasive approach include:

  • Patients over 50 years old with knee arthritis limited to one compartment
  • Healthy weight or mildly overweight individuals
  • Lower-demand individuals able to modify high-impact activities
  • Those with intact knee ligaments providing stability
  • Patients not requiring major realignment of the joint

Surgical Technique for Partial Knee Replacement

During surgery, Dr. Siegel precisely identifies the arthritic knee compartment and uses advanced techniques to reshape the joint. After exposing the knee through a small incision, he removes damaged cartilage and bone from either the inner or outer surface selectively.

Customized implant components are then positioned to resurface the compartment, restoring smooth gliding function. Dr. Siegel may use robotic-assisted technology and computer navigation for highly accurate sizing and positioning of the implants in three dimensions.

The implants are typically fixed with surgical bone cement. For optimal results, the new joint surface is aligned to distribute weight evenly across the compartment. Following meticulous closure of the tissues, the knee is tested through a full range of motion.

Benefits of Partial Knee Replacement Surgery

For appropriately selected patients, partial knee replacement provides important advantages compared to total knee replacement:

  • Smaller incision for less surgical trauma
  • Fewer cuts into bone and soft tissues around the knee
  • Preserves both cruciate ligaments providing stability
  • Maintains more normal knee motion and biomechanics
  • Rapid recovery with less post-operative pain
  • Lower risk of complications like infections or blood clots
  • Typically, same-day outpatient surgery
  • Faster return to activities within weeks, not months
  • Lower likelihood of needing walking assistance or therapy

Partial knee replacement allows many patients to resume daily routines and recreation faster than total knee replacement would allow. While high-impact activities may eventually be restricted, most can return to bicycling, swimming, golfing, and similar activities after healing.

Recovery After Partial Knee Replacement Surgery

Patients who have partial knee replacement surgery performed by Dr. Siegel can typically go home the same day. Mild discomfort is common but generally well managed with oral medication. Therapy starts immediately with motion exercises.

Patients are able to walk with support on the day of surgery and often transition to a cane within the first week. With diligent physical therapy, most patients regain excellent mobility within 2-6 weeks post-operatively. Athletic activities can usually be resumed around 8-12 weeks once adequate strength and range of motion have been re-established.

While recovery goes smoothly for most patients, Dr. Siegel carefully monitors for potential complications like:

  • Persistent pain or swelling
  • Instability of the knee joint 
  • Loosening or dislocation of the implant
  • Progression of arthritis in other compartments
  • Infection or bleeding issues


Long-Term Outcomes: Durability of Partial Knee Replacements

With advanced materials and proper patient selection, contemporary partial knee replacements demonstrate excellent 10 to 15-year implant survival rates, similar to total knee replacements. However, studies show somewhat higher failure rates requiring revisions after 20 years compared to total knee replacement.

Strict activity precautions are required life-long to prevent excessive wear and impact loading. Younger or heavier patients may exceed the functional lifespan of partial knee implants sooner. However, revisions from partial to total knee replacement are generally easier than revising one total knee replacement to another.

Candidates for Partial Knee Replacement

The best outcomes stem from choosing appropriate patients for partial knee replacement. Dr. Siegel thoroughly evaluates each individual’s specific case to determine if they will benefit from this less invasive approach.

Ideal candidates include:

  • Individuals over 50 years of age
  • Healthy or mildly overweight BMIs under 40
  • Osteoarthritis isolated to just one knee compartment
  • Lower activity demands and ability to modify high-impact sports
  • Overall knee stability with intact ligaments
  • Absent or mild malalignment of the joint
  • Flexible knee joints, not stiff pre-operatively
  • No prior surgeries compromising outcomes

Contrasting Partial and Total Knee Replacement

For arthritis affecting multiple compartments, total knee replacement that resurfaces all three compartments may be required. This more extensive surgery has a longer recovery but reliably alleviates pain and restores function.

Partial knee replacement limits surgery to just the diseased areas of one compartment. When appropriately indicated, this less invasive approach provides faster recovery, fewer activity restrictions, more normal joint motion and feel, and reduced complication risks.

However, patients must adhere to strict precautions and lower activity levels to achieve lasting benefits from partial knee implants. Commitment to protecting the knee replacement is key to its longevity.

Why Choose Dr. Herrick J. Siegel for Partial Knee Replacement

As an experienced joint reconstruction specialist, Dr. Herrick J. Siegel leverages his expertise to deliver excellent partial knee replacement outcomes.

His skills include:

  • Precise surgical techniques guided by advanced computer modeling and robotics technology for accuracy
  • Accurate joint resurfacing and positioning to maximize function and implant longevity
  • Comprehensive understanding of optimal patient selection criteria
  • Patience in explaining partial versus total knee replacement options to patients
  • Emphasis on rapid rehabilitation protocols to enhance recovery
  • Priority on pain management and patient comfort throughout the entire process
  • Ability to perform partial, total, or revision knee replacement as needed

For those suffering with knee arthritis isolated to just one compartment, Dr. Siegel offers trusted guidance on whether a partial knee replacement could help relieve your pain and restore mobility. His patient-centered care and surgical skills provide customized solutions for reduced discomfort and renewed quality of life.

Contact Dr. Herrick Siegel

Not completely satisfied with your joint replacement? Are you continually letting pain limit your day? Dr. Herrick J. Siegel may be able to help.