Partial Knee Replacement Surgery

In a partial knee replacement, only a portion of the knee is replaced.

This surgery is typically performed for osteoarthritis (wear and tear type) and post-traumatic arthritis (arthritis that develops after an accident such as a fracture or meniscal injury).

The prerequisite for a partial knee replacement is that the arthritis only affects a single compartment of the knee (medial, lateral, patellofemoral).

During the procedure, the damaged compartment is removed and replaced with metal components and medical grade plastic bearing. Healthy cartilage in the other compartments, along with all knee ligaments are all preserved.

Different types of partial knee replacements:

Each of the three compartments – medial, lateral, patellofemoral (knee cap) can be replaced, depending on the location of arthritis.

x-ray image of knee pre-operation
x-ray image of partial knee replacement

Medial compartment partial knee replacement

patellofemoral replacement preoperation
Patellofemoral replacement

Patellofemoral (kneecap joint) replacement

Advantages of a partial knee replacement compared to a total knee replacement:

With proper patient selection and well performed surgery, partial knee replacement have demonstrated excellent long-term results that is comparable to total knee replacement.

Partial knee replacement is performed through a smaller incision and preserves healthy cartilage and ligaments. For this reason, patients may experience:

  • Less pain after surgery
  • Quicker recovery
  • Less blood loss
  • More natural feeling knee than a total knee replacement

The disadvantage of a partial knee replacement is that there is a chance you will develop arthritis in the parts of the knee that has not been replaced. This may require additional surgery in the future, including conversion to a total knee replacement.

To be suitable for a partial knee replacement, you must have

  • advanced arthritis affecting just one compartment of your knee
  • exhausted non-surgical treatment options.

After a thorough history and examination, and review of your x-rays, I will be able to decide whether a unicompartmental knee replacement is suitable for you.

For more information on what to expect after your joint replacement surgery:

– click to download After Your Joint Replacement Surgery handout.


Total Knee Replacement


Partial Knee Replacement

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9am - 5pm
Monday to Friday


03 390 0010


Elmwood Orthopaedics
Level 3, 11 Caledonian Road
Saint Albans, Christchurch 8014