Patient Education

To help you understand and navigate through your orthopedic health decisions, we have created a patient education section. Please select from one of the categories below to learn more about your condition or procedure.
Knee Replacement – Unicompartmental

A unicompartmental knee replacement, also known as a partial knee replacement, is a surgical procedure aimed at replacing only one part (compartment) of the knee joint affected by osteoarthritis or other conditions. Unlike total knee replacement (TKR), which replaces the entire knee joint, unicompartmental knee replacement focuses on resurfacing either the medial (inner), lateral (outer), or patellofemoral (front) compartments of the knee.

Unicompartmental knee replacement is considered when only one part of the knee joint is damaged, typically due to osteoarthritis or a traumatic injury. The decision to proceed with this surgery depends on the extent of damage and the patient’s overall health.


  • The damaged portion of the knee joint is removed and replaced with an artificial implant made of metal and plastic.
  • The remaining healthy portions of the knee joint are preserved, including ligaments and bone.

Types of Unicompartmental Knee Replacement

  • Medial Unicompartmental Knee Replacement: Involves replacing the inner part of the knee joint (medial compartment).
  • Lateral Unicompartmental Knee Replacement: Replaces the outer part of the knee joint (lateral compartment).
  • Patellofemoral Unicompartmental Knee Replacement: Addresses the front of the knee joint, where the kneecap (patella) and femur meet.


  • Preservation of Healthy Tissue: Unlike total knee replacement, which involves removing more bone and tissue, unicompartmental knee replacement preserves healthy bone and ligaments.
  • Faster Recovery: Patients typically experience less pain and a quicker recovery compared to total knee replacement.
  • Improved Range of Motion: Some patients report better range of motion and function in the replaced compartment.
  • Less Invasive: Smaller incisions and less disruption to surrounding tissues compared to total knee replacement.


  • Patient Selection: Not all patients are suitable candidates for unicompartmental knee replacement. Factors such as the extent of arthritis, overall knee stability, and alignment play a role in determining candidacy.
  • Long-Term Outcomes: While promising for the right candidates, long-term durability of unicompartmental implants can be influenced by factors such as patient activity level and implant positioning.
  • Revision Surgery: In some cases, conversion to total knee replacement may be necessary if arthritis progresses in other compartments of the knee or if complications arise.


  • Physical Therapy: Rehabilitation typically starts soon after surgery to regain strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the knee.
  • Home Exercises: Patients are often given specific exercises to perform at home to aid recovery and improve knee function.
  • Follow-up Care: Regular follow-up visits with the surgeon are essential to monitor progress, address concerns, and ensure proper healing.

Potential Complications

  • Infection: Any surgical procedure carries a risk of infection, although strict sterile techniques are employed to minimize this risk.
  • Implant Wear or Loosening: Over time, implants may wear out or loosen, potentially requiring revision surgery.
  • Blood Clots: Blood clot formation (deep vein thrombosis) is a potential complication, and preventive measures are taken.


Unicompartmental knee replacement offers targeted relief for patients with isolated knee arthritis or damage, preserving healthy tissue and potentially offering quicker recovery compared to total knee replacement. However, careful patient selection and thorough evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon specializing in joint replacement are crucial. They can provide personalized advice and determine if unicompartmental knee replacement is the best option based on individual circumstances.


To schedule an appointment:

To speak with a medical professional, call: