A partial knee replacement is surgery to replace only one part of a damaged knee. It can replace either the inside (medial) part, the outside (lateral) part, or the top (patellofemoral) part of the knee. Most commonly, partial knee replacement is recommended for patients with early- to mid-stage knee osteoarthritis in no more than 2 parts of the knee.

Those whose condition is more severe may be a candidate for total knee replacement surgery.

About the MAKOplasty® System for Partial Knee Replacement

At Wake Forest Baptist Health, we use the MAKOplasty® system for partial knee replacement - a combination of bone resurfacing and partial knee implant. The procedure involves resurfacing the diseased portion of the knee, sparing healthy bone and surrounding tissue, and securing an implant so the knee joint moves smoothly again.

This procedure uses the RIO® Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopaedic System. Your orthopaedic surgeon controls the robotic arm 100 percent of the time, so it is like an extension of your surgeon’s hands.

During a MAKOplasty surgery, the RIO provides real-time feedback and three-dimensional imaging, which allow your surgeon to operate more precisely than he could during traditional surgery. It is this optimal placement that can result in more natural knee motion following surgery.

Other benefits include:

  • Less painful, faster recoveries
  • A 2 to 3 inch incision as opposed to an 8 inch or larger incision with traditional surgery
  • If the arthritis spreads to more than 2 compartments, a total knee replacement is still an option because the resurfacing preserves the patient’s own bone.

Evaluation for Partial Knee Replacement Surgery

In order to determine if you are a candidate for this procedure, our specialists will:

  • Review your medical history and symptoms
  • Perform a clinical examination, including:
    • Watch you walk
    • Observe you get up from a chair
    • Test your reflexes
    • Examine your joint alignment
    • Test ligament stability in the affected knee
  • Order X-rays to determine how much bone or joint damage there is from the osteoarthritis
  • In some cases, our surgeons will order additional imaging tests, including CT or MRI to determine the extent of the damage caused by arthritis.

In order to qualify for partial knee replacement surgery, your ACL must be intact and you must have relatively good alignment of your joints.

If you are coming from far away to have a partial knee replacement, we can arrange to have your imaging studies performed before you come. That way our knee specialists will be fully prepared to make a treatment recommendation for you at the end of your consultation.

Partial Knee Replacement Surgery - What to Expect

Before Surgery

A CT scan is taken of your knee before the surgery. Using the MAKO Tactile Guidance System™ robotic navigation system, your surgeons will precisely plan the surgery by mapping the damaged area of the knee before the procedure.

Day of Surgery

During the surgery, your surgeons will follow the surgical plan using a 3D visualization system, coupled with an intelligent cutting tool that provides the surgeon with visual, tactile, and auditory feedback throughout the procedure.

Depending on what is right for you, you may go home after the procedure, or stay in the hospital for a few days.

Recovery Process

Most patients walk immediately following surgery, drive a car in the first few weeks and resume daily activities by 4 weeks post-procedure.

Physical therapy and rehabilitation will be prescribed. You can complete this course at Wake Forest Baptist, or at your local provider.

Joint Replacement Program

We offer one of the most comprehensive joint replacement programs in the Winston-Salem area. From minimally invasive to bone-sparing procedures, our full menu of surgical options fits patients of all ages and activity levels.

Our orthopaedic teams include surgeons who are highly trained specialists in their fields. That means they focus on diagnosing and treating problems in only one region of the body, such as the knees, hips or shoulders.