Knee Replacement Surgery

Partial & Total Knee Replacement

If you’re experiencing knee pain at night, pain at rest or pain going up and down the stairs, it's generally pain that's unrelieved by conservative management like injections and anti-inflammatories.

Frequently, degenerative conditions such as arthritis result in increasing deformity in a person's knee, causing them to become either more knocked-in (valgus) or bowed-out (varus) over time. As the knee degenerates, the cartilage surfaces wear away—not only the white shiny cartilage from the end of the bones but also the meniscus, which acts as a shock absorber. Common conditions associated with knee pain are meniscal injuries ligament tears and arthritis. The difference between them is meniscal injuries and ligament injuries are generally acute in nature. That is, you feel something happen and then you experience pain very commonly localized in one area. Arthritis pain tends to be more of a general and may be localized on one side of the knee but it is a pain characterized by a slower onset. Additionally, arthritis pain lasts longer and doesn't have the ebbs and flows in terms of how you feel it. Symptoms that lead to total knee replacements can be generally classified as pain and swelling. The pain you're experiencing is due to either arthritis or cartilage deterioration within the joint.


During a knee replacement, the arthritic ends of the bone are cut away and replaced with metal and plastic. The components are cemented into place with cement that cures in about 10 to 15 minutes. During a total/full knee replacement, all of the components of the knee are replaced. During a partial knee replacement, only the affected part of the knee is replaced and the remaining knee is left intact.

The advantage of having a total knee replacement is principally eliminating the pain. Secondary, and a very important advantage, is restoring the mechanical axis of the extremity. For example, you will be able to go up and down the stairs easily and get up out of a chair without pain.
Following a total knee replacement you can expect your pain to be relieved. There may be some tightness and occasional aches and pains following knee replacement surgery but you can do the things that you avoided because your knee hurt before surgery.

You will be able to return to your favorite sports and activities including walking, hiking and playing golf.

Who is a Candidate for Knee Replacement?

Patients who have bone-on-bone arthritis of the knee and are no longer responding to conservative measures become joint replacement surgery candidates. Conservative measures can include anti-inflammatories, use of a cane or walker, injections, weight-loss, arthroscopic surgery, and simple measures like heat or icing. When these measures no longer help, the impact on your activity increases and your quality of life goes down: that is when you become a good candidate for joint replacement. Patients that do the best with joint replacement surgery have three things in common. First, they all have bone-on-bone arthritis. Bone-on-bone arthritis is painful because the nerves in the bone are exposed and grate against each other. Secondly, they have disability in their lives because of the arthritic joint. They have an increasingly difficult time doing activities that are important, like working, activities of daily living, exercising, or being independent in the community. Lastly, we need confirmation that the arthritis in your knee is bad enough for it to be improved with a prosthetic joint. This is confirmed with an X-ray, MRI, or arthroscopy. When these three factors are present, we can expect the absolute best outcome from joint replacement surgery.

Knee replacement surgery is a unique experience for everyone. We understand that joint replacement surgery is challenging, but don’t want patients to get discouraged. Our team is ready to help patients succeed and we encourage patients to rely on us during the recovery process. It's taken a long time for the condition to deteriorate, so it may take time to recover. Most patients are pleased with their outcome after 6 – 12 weeks, but it will take an entire year for a full recovery. 

What is a Partial Knee Replacement?

Partial knee replacement surgery, also called a unicompartmental knee replacement, is used to treat severe arthritis of the knee. Partial knee replacement candidates typically have less deformity and must have limited arthritic changes. A partial knee replacement surgery requires a smaller incision and allows for quicker recovery time than a total knee replacement.

During a partial knee replacement procedure, your knee doctor will remove only the most damaged areas of cartilage from your knee joint, leaving any healthy parts of your joint for continued use. Then, your doctor will replace the damaged parts of your joint with implants placed between the end of your thighbone and the top of your shinbone.

What is a Total Knee Replacement?

With the goal of relieving pain, restoring motion, and straightening your limb, a total knee replacement surgery is used to replace your painful knee joint with an artificial knee prosthesis made of metal and plastic. The artificial knee replacement recreates the normal function of the knee joint.

During total knee replacement surgery, only the surface of your joint is removed. Your knee doctor will remove the arthritic ends of your bones and replace them with new metal and plastic surfaces, which will recreate the normal function of your knee joint. Total knee replacement surgery takes about an hour and a half, whereas a partial knee replacement requires less time. Like any joint replacement procedure, total knee replacement surgery will require ample time for recovery as well as appropriate physical therapy in order to achieve the best results.

Dr. Reichard talks total knee replacement

Dr. Anderson talks total knee replacement

See a Specialist

To learn more about partial knee replacement surgery, please request an appointment online, or call 888-660-2663.

Make an Appointment

Appointment Resources

Once you have scheduled your appointment with one of our knee doctors, please use the link below to obtain our new patient forms and browse through our tips and suggestions on preparing for your appointment. 

Preparing for My Appointment & New Patient Forms