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A partial knee Arthroplasty does not resurface the entire knee; rather it resurfaces 1 of the knee compartments and on occasions resurfaces 2 compartments. It’s primarily indicated for patients with isolated medial compartment arthritis (pain on inside of knee/joint line) with relative preservation of the cartilage in the lateral and patellofemoral compartment.
Advantages to this procedure are that you are preserving approximately 70% of the normal cartilage of the knee. It also spares resection of the ACL and PCL giving the knee a more natural feel. It is a much less invasive procedure with half the recovery time as a total knee arthroplasty.
As with a TKA, this procedure is reserved for patients with isolated arthritis which has become refractory to conservative treatment and is affecting function and quality of life. Younger patients with this pathology might be a candidate for a different procedure called a high tibial osteotomy (HTO) which correctly the deformity unloading the diseased portion of the knee without any form of resurfacing.