During knee replacement surgery, bone and cartilage damaged by osteoarthritis are resurfaced with metal and plastic components. In unicompartmental knee replacement (also called partial knee replacement) only a portion of the knee is resurfaced. This procedure is an alternative to total knee replacement for patients whose disease is limited to just one area of the knee. In knee osteoarthritis, the cartilage protecting the bones of the knee slowly wears away. This can occur throughout the knee joint or just in a single area of the knee. The knee is divided into three major compartments:
Medial compartment (the inside part of the knee)
Lateral compartment (the outside part of the knee)
Patellofemoral compartment (the front of the knee between the kneecap and thighbone)
Advanced osteoarthritis that is limited to a single compartment may be treated with a unicompartmental knee replacement. During this procedure, the damaged compartment is replaced with metal and plastic. The healthy cartilage and bone, as well as all of the ligaments, are preserved.
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