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Old 01-30-2010, 06:05 PM   #1
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Anyone Had a Partial Knee Replacement?

Hi Everyone,
I found this board a week ago and I have been voraciously reading all of your posts. I have learned so much from all of you. I am a 61 year old woman who has had rheumatoid arthritis all of her life and lupus for around 20 years. I have had my ups and downs with both of these diseases, but basically I have been feeling pretty well the last couple of years, aside from toe joint replacement surgery, surgery for a torn posterior tibular tendon, fractured vertebae stuff like that. My knees have been ok until lately. My daughter had a baby on Oct. 30 and I was helping her every day. She lives in an apartment with steps and I was going up and down the steps numerous times a day. One morning I woke up unable to walk with severe pain in my right knee. The MRI showed a slightly torn meniscus and some osteoarthritis, but nothing major. I had to rent a wheelchair the pain was so bad. Due to some scheduling problems with the first orthopedist, I made an appointment with another orthopedic surgeon at a sports medicine practice. This practice treats the LA Lakers, LA Dodgers, etc, so I figured that they could handle a 61 year old woman with a sore knee. The doctor said that he couldn't figure out why I was in such pain with an MRI showing basically nothing. By this time I was in tears and told him that if he didn't do something I didn't know what I would do. He ordered another MRI to see if anything had changed. The second MRI (three weeks after the first) showed extensive damage in the medial part of my knee. There was basically bone on bone with many small fractures all over the place. He sent me to a surgeon who only does knee replacement and I saw him yesterday. He said that I did indeed need surgery, but because of the area of damage being in only one compartment of my knee he could do a partial knee replacement. Has anyone had this? I am anxious to know about the recovery time for a partial vs. a TKR. This doctor does many, many of these, so I am not worried about his experience. Again, thanks again for all of your wisdom; this board is the first thing I read in the morning and the last thing I read at night.

Nancy in Los Angeles

 
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:53 PM   #2
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Re: Anyone Had a Partial Knee Replacement?

I know how you feel I am trying to decide what to do about bilateral knee replacement. I don't have any experience with a partial knee replacement. My doctor didn't feel that it was a good option because he said you'll eventually need a TKR. I do know from reading that the recovery with a partial is shorter. Good Luck

 
Old 06-21-2010, 07:18 PM   #3
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Re: Anyone Had a Partial Knee Replacement?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamhillnancy View Post
Hi Everyone,
I found this board a week ago and I have been voraciously reading all of your posts. I have learned so much from all of you. I am a 61 year old woman who has had rheumatoid arthritis all of her life and lupus for around 20 years. I have had my ups and downs with both of these diseases, but basically I have been feeling pretty well the last couple of years, aside from toe joint replacement surgery, surgery for a torn posterior tibular tendon, fractured vertebae stuff like that. My knees have been ok until lately. My daughter had a baby on Oct. 30 and I was helping her every day. She lives in an apartment with steps and I was going up and down the steps numerous times a day. One morning I woke up unable to walk with severe pain in my right knee. The MRI showed a slightly torn meniscus and some osteoarthritis, but nothing major. I had to rent a wheelchair the pain was so bad. Due to some scheduling problems with the first orthopedist, I made an appointment with another orthopedic surgeon at a sports medicine practice. This practice treats the LA Lakers, LA Dodgers, etc, so I figured that they could handle a 61 year old woman with a sore knee. The doctor said that he couldn't figure out why I was in such pain with an MRI showing basically nothing. By this time I was in tears and told him that if he didn't do something I didn't know what I would do. He ordered another MRI to see if anything had changed. The second MRI (three weeks after the first) showed extensive damage in the medial part of my knee. There was basically bone on bone with many small fractures all over the place. He sent me to a surgeon who only does knee replacement and I saw him yesterday. He said that I did indeed need surgery, but because of the area of damage being in only one compartment of my knee he could do a partial knee replacement. Has anyone had this? I am anxious to know about the recovery time for a partial vs. a TKR. This doctor does many, many of these, so I am not worried about his experience. Again, thanks again for all of your wisdom; this board is the first thing I read in the morning and the last thing I read at night.

Nancy in Los Angeles
I would never do a partial knee replacement because you will have to replace it again with a full knee. It just cost more for your insurance and causes you to have a second surgery.

 
Old 06-24-2010, 09:18 PM   #4
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Re: Anyone Had a Partial Knee Replacement?

Hello--I had partial knee replacement on April 1st. The dr. told me the recovery would be much quicker than a total knee and that I should feel okay at ten to twelve weeks post op. My twelve week marker is today. I am not happy with the results. I am in constant pain and can barely walk. I am able to bend and straighten just fine but the weight bearing is not anywhere near what I had hoped for. Now I think I will have to go to a total knee. I don't feel the partial knee replacement was a good move for me. Now I fear I need another surgery. I wish I'd just gone for the total in the first place. My doctor isn't nice. He seemed nice when he did the first surgery (scope) and just seemed to lose interest after the second surgery. When I saw him four weeks after surgery I complained that it couldn't take weight. He told me the knee was fixed and the rest was up to me! He took me off the Norco and gave me Ultram, which does so little for the pain that I don't even bother with it. I am in constant pain and can barely function. I will be looking for another doctor. I don't know if this helps you. I would get a second or third opinion before considering a partial knee. I wish I had.

 
Old 06-24-2010, 09:41 PM   #5
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Re: Anyone Had a Partial Knee Replacement?

I would not recommend a partial knee replacement for anyone it is useless and only causes you to have another knee surgery for the total knee. I don't recommend the cartilage replacement either because you have to go into surgery for the removal of part of your cartilage then have it grown then go back in 2 weeks later for the cartilage put back in and hope it works. Then in my case it has grown too much to where they have to go back in and cut some away in hopes that I can have a normal life again. I hope that I can convince my doctor to give me a total knee replacement soon.

 
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Old 09-15-2010, 12:16 PM   #6
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Re: Anyone Had a Partial Knee Replacement?

I am a 58 year old overweight female. I had a partial, called a unicompartment, knee replacement in March of this year. I only had damage to the medial (inside) portion of my rt knee, not the lateral and the ortho had done 12 other uni's and liked them and I was in favor of maximizing me and minimizing titanium, so there you have it. Surgery went well but it is not what I expected so will give you my findings so you have ore questions to ask your doc. A partial does not straighten your leg like a total would. That might not affect folks with a sudden injury, but mine was osteoarthritis that I had for several years. gradually, from favoring the knee, I had twisted my leg almost imperceptibly. It was apparent on the x-ray of both my legs facing forward - it was evident that the tibia and fibula were not aligned or straight. I saw it. I remarked on it. I was shocked by it. I know I asked the ortho doc about it. It just never occurred to me to force a complete answer from him, how important it would prove later, how much pain I have now with each and every step I take and that titanium meets that bone -- that portion of my knee straight, but everything else in knee and leg still crooked. My physical therapist was able to explain it to me -- but that was two months after surgery. It is now 6 months later and pain is still like a bone break. Would I have done a total had I know? I don't know. But I would have kept asking - or changing doctors - until I got one who understood and acknowledged the problem.
My surgeon used no staples or big sutures so I have a relatively-speaking beautiful scar. What else I did not know: The knee is larger than my other and always will be because the replacements (partial or total) are larger than normal knees. I do not know if the knees that are made-to-order by computer scribing to your personal CT scan are the same as I did not have extra thousands of dollars lying around to purchase one of the high end replacements. But there are several websites that show you what is out there and available and I strongly advise you look at all the various brands and types of knees before you decide. Most surgeons have their favorite prothetics and that's that -- and often it is not because they are the best ones for you but because the physician has some kind of relationship with that manufacturer or was trained on that model. I was glad I knew what else was out there so I could decide to what extent i was willing to go, look, change doctors, etc. And i was able to ask pointed questions like, "But I read that I would not be able to kneel ever again with that model and kneeling is important to me."
And knee prosthetics, including partials, are only built to 125 degrees of range of motion since that is average. I was able to get up to 124 degrees without much trouble (how much I could bend my knee). But I still cannot straighten it completely flat (which is actually measured at a minus degrees). After six months, I still have numbness and swelling and there are days I can't get past 110 degrees (what you need to ride a bicycle), but I know it isn't lost permanently, I just need rest and ice or gentle exercises and it will bend more tomorrow. But my problem is that I now know that I am more flexible than average - my left knee has 147 degrees of range of motion. My new right knee can never even get close - I will always have 20 degrees difference between my knees. Look on a compass to see how very much that is. That's 15% of my total range. So that makes it very confusing to walk straight - my left knee is at 147 degrees and my right at 125. And while most folks don't have 147 degrees, most people don't make it to 125 degrees with their replacements, either. And nobody ever mentioned anything about degrees and differences or re-learning how to walk. When you add the ROM difference between my knees with the fact that with any type of replacement knee you can no longer turn you body the same way because your knee won't twist - you have to take small steps with your whole body to turn - there is a lot of relearning to do. Only insurance only pays 25 visits for therapy, most of which (if not all) are spent getting you up, moving, flexing, building back strength. No one teaches you how to walk, they just get you up and walking. There's a big difference. You may not have that problem - i live in Alaska, gravel road, like to walk outdoors, have steps and pets and an active life - but good to know in advance what to ask, beforehand. Get your ortho to send you to a therapist beforehand to measure your knees, observe your walk, tell you exactly what it will take to get to the activity level and type you expect. A good therapist will tell you. And do NOT just go to the therapist your surgeon sends you to - again, every ortho surgeon has his/her "own" therapy agency or therapist that they prefer for many reasons (one surgeon wanted me to go to a therapist who turned out to be his live-in girlfriend: she might be a great therapist, but that was too uncomfortable for me, especially since he was not forthcoming with that info!). Ask friends for therapist recommendations, go see and interview them BEFORE your surgery, find one you are comfortable with and trust and tell your surgeon who you want. It's acceptable to do that.
Anyway, after all this, I'll give you some of the up side. Last week i walked up a flight of steps like everyone else - one foot, one step, alternating - for the first time in 2 or 3 years. I just finished picking wild blueberries out on the tundra which I had been unable to do at all last year - while the knee still didn't like to squat at all, I was able to walk up and down the hills to find the berries. My dog and i are once again traipsing the moose trails together for 1-2 hours at a time. Before the surgery, I was only able to walk flat, flat, flat, and then not for too long without a knee brace on. I still have to be careful, I wear high top hiking boots to support my ankle so I won't twist my knee with a misstep, but I don't have to use a walking stick at all! My leg still won't kick properly when I swim but i can swim for 40 mins - a far cry from the 2-3 laps I could swim a year ago.
What would I do if I knew then what i know now? I don't know, no one does. You pay your money, you take your chances. BUT I would not have waited, not one minute. i would have had something replaced - whole or partial - when it first started hurting or decreasing my life. No one welcomes surgery, but if I could go back, I would have saved all those injections and braces and Synvisc and whatever and had the surgery. All the walks I missed! Plan to snowshoe this winter and maybe by next spring, will be able to get the golf pro to help me swing without torquing my knee. I hate the pain, but I hated the disability much more. read, ask, read some more -- but then decide and do it and get on with your life. And good luck to you.

 
Old 09-15-2010, 12:30 PM   #7
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msrevie HB User
Re: Anyone Had a Partial Knee Replacement?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddimgki View Post
I would never do a partial knee replacement because you will have to replace it again with a full knee. It just cost more for your insurance and causes you to have a second surgery.
Sorry, but this is not true. There is always the chance that osteoarthritis will continue, for example, and damage the other side, etc. But partial knee replacements have and do last as long as total knees. There was a time patients were advised to put off a total knee for as long as possible because the prosthetics did not last, you would just need it replaced in a few years, all of that. But that is not true either. The important thing is to make sure you are a good candidate for a partial, that a motion x-ray of your knee is done with someone good putting the pressure on the knee so you have an accurate picture of the spacing under force, not when standing straight. A knee can still have some spacing on one side but not enough to make you a good uni candidate. But if the criteria are met and you're a good candidate, you most likely will never need additional surgery - check the stats!

 
Old 10-26-2010, 03:18 PM   #8
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Re: Anyone Had a Partial Knee Replacement?

you need to go to another doctor immediately, I have heard so many stories about arrogant unconcerned doctors it makes me sick, report your doctor to the state board and find someone else.

 
Old 01-22-2012, 07:02 PM   #9
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Re: Anyone Had a Partial Knee Replacement?

My father's wife had a partial knee replacement and was very happy with the results. That was at a Los Angeles hospital. She was elderly and healed up faster than I did after my knee surgery.

 
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