Unicompartmental knee replacement (half knee/partial knee/Oxford knee)

What is arthritis?

Unicompartmental knee replacement replaces a part of the knee damaged by arthritis. Arthritis is a group of conditions that cause damage to one or more joints.

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, where there is gradual wear and tear of a joint. Arthritis eventually wears away the normal cartilage covering the surface of the joint and the bone underneath becomes damaged. This causes pain and stiffness in the joint.

If only part of your knee is damaged by arthritis, you can sometimes have a unicompartmental knee replacement instead of a total knee replacement.

What are the benefits of surgery?

You should get less pain and be able to walk more easily. A unicompartmental knee replacement may bend better and feel more like a normal knee than a total knee replacement.

Unicompartmental partial Oxford knee replacement diagram

Are there any alternatives to a knee replacement?

Simple painkillers such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen can help control the pain. Supplements to your diet may also help relieve your symptoms. Check with your doctor before you take supplements.

Using a walking stick can make walking easier.

Regular moderate exercise can help to reduce stiffness in your knee. Physiotherapy may help to strengthen weak muscles.

A steroid injection into your knee joint can sometimes reduce pain and stiffness for several months.

An operation called a tibial osteotomy changes the shape of your leg and can take the load off the worn part of your knee.

All these measures become less effective if your arthritis gets worse.

What does the operation involve?

Various anaesthetic techniques are possible. The operation usually takes an hour to 90 minutes.

Your surgeon will make a cut on the front of your knee and remove the damaged joint surfaces. They will replace these with an artificial knee joint made of metal, plastic or ceramic, or a combination of these materials (see figure 1).

Your knee replacement is fixed to the bone using acrylic cement or special coatings on your knee replacement that bond directly to the bone.

What complications can happen?

General complications

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Unsightly scarring
  • Blood clots
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Chest infection
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

 

Specific complications

  • Damage to nerves
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Bearing dislocation
  • Infection in your knee
  • Loosening
  • Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of your knee (complex regional pain syndrome)

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home after one to four days. You will need to use crutches or walking sticks for a few weeks.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Most people make a good recovery, have less pain, and can move about better. An artificial knee never feels quite the same as a normal knee.

A unicompartmental knee replacement can wear out with time.

Summary

Arthritis of your knee usually happens without a known cause. It can sometimes affect only part of your knee. If you have severe pain, stiffness and disability, a unicompartmental knee replacement should reduce your pain and help you to walk more easily.

Self-pay guide price

From £9,090

 

Self-pay package details

Unicompartmental (partial/Oxford) knee replacement is performed at The Foscote Hospital by

  • Mr Luc Boizot

    Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

    Dip MP, Dip Orthopaedic Surgery

    Learn more
  • Professor Max Gibbons

    Prof Max Gibbons

    Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

    MBBS MA FRCS

    Learn more
  • Mr Geza Kordas

    Mr Geza Kordas

    Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

    MD PhD

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  • mr james owen orthopaedics

    Mr James Owen

    Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

    MA MB BChir FRCS

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  • Mr Bijan Shafigian

    Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

    MD FRCS Royal College of Surgeons

    Learn more

Acknowledgements

Author: Mr Stephen Milner DM FRCS (Tr. & Orth.)

Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © Medical-Artist.com

This page is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

Copyright © 2018 EIDO Healthcare Limited. The operation and treatment information on this website is produced by EIDO Healthcare Ltd and used under licence by The Foscote Hospital. The intellectual property rights to the information belong exclusively to EIDO Healthcare Limited. You may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information other than for your personal, non-commercial use.