More than 790,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States. For patients, it’s one way to eliminate the severe pain and stiffness caused by injury or years of arthritis. Doctors can now remove just a portion of the knee and still offer patients relief.

Jonathan Stevens and his family have their hands full!

“We live on a small farm in northern Indiana,” shared Stevens.

“We’ve never had a farm before, so we’re kind of figuring it out as we go,” Stevens exclaimed.

But everything changed when he started feeling severe pain in his knee.

“It was like someone had a hot ice pick and they were shoving it right into my knee and it stayed there,” Stevens illustrated.

Doctors told him he would need a knee replacement.

“And unfortunately, you’re too young, you’re too young to have one,” recalled Stevens.

Instead, doctors offered Jonathan another option.

Tad Gerlinger, MD, a joint replacement surgeon at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush explained, “Partial knee replacement is something that not everyone’s exposed to. It’s replacing just a portion of the knee.”

Knees are made up of three main compartments, the medial, lateral, and the patella femoral joint, that hides behind the knee cap.

“And all three of those can be replaced individually versus a total knee which replaces all three at once,” elaborated Dr. Gerlinger.

So, if pain is only coming from one of these areas, then a partial will replace only that area.

“It’s lower risk, and it’s lower morbidity, and a quicker recovery. Eighty percent of patients who get a partial knee replacement never need another operation,” concluded Dr. Gerlinger.

“Yesterday we had Brooklyn up on the horse and she wanted to go faster. Yesterday I was actually running with the horse and Brooklyn. And there’s no way I could’ve done that a year ago,” expressed Stevens.

The requirements and risk factors for partial and total knee replacements are the same. However, if the joint needs to be revised down the road, a total knee would require a second full major surgery to revise. Whereas a partial needs only to be converted to a total.

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