Knee Pain and Knee Replacement
If your knee pain is severe and due to Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid or Post-Traumatic Arthritis then you may be suitable for a Total Knee Replacement (TKR). Younger patients or those with pain localized to part of the knee joint may be suitable for a Unicompartmental Knee Replacement (UKR).
Joint replacement can be an excellent solution for knee pain and lead to great improvement in peforming activities of daily living.
Causes of Knee Pain:
Osteoarthritis – degenerative age-related wear and tear, leading to loss of cartilage, knee stiffness and deformity. This usually occurs in patients over 50 years of age, but may occur in younger patients. Younger patients may be more suitable for a Unicompartmental Knee Replacement.
Rheumatoid Arthritis – an autoimmune disease causing inflammation of the lining of the knee joint (synovitis) leading to joint destruction. This may affect many joints and body organs, and may occur in younger patients. It is part of a spectrum of conditions called ‘inflammatory arthropathies’ and is treated with the help of a Rheumatologist (medical joint specialist).
Post-Traumatic Arthritis – This can follow an injury to the cartilage or fracture of the bone. Over time more cartilage may be lost and degenerative change can occur.
What is the difference between a total knee replacement and a unicompartmental knee replacement?
The knee joint can be divided into three compartments – the inside of the knee (medial compartment), the outside of the knee (lateral compartment) and the space between the kneecap and the thigh bone (patellofemoral joint).
Patients suitable for Total Knee Replacement may have loss of cartilage in all three compartments, have severe deformity, ligamentous injury or inflammatory joint disease.
Patients suitable for Unicompartmental Knee Replacement may have localised joint disease in one compartment only.
Both procedures can be performed with an excellent degree of accuracy using a robotic system such as Makoplasty, Navio or Robodoc.
Some of the possible advantages of unicompartmental knee replacement over total knee replacement include a smaller incision, less tissue damage and postoperative pain, less blood loss, faster recovery and return to work / sport, greater range of postoperative movement.