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'Can I get by with a partial knee replacement instead of a total?'

"Despite what people with knee pain might read online or hear on TV, only a fraction of them are good candidates for a partial knee replacement."
-Brian Ceccarelli, DO

"Compartments in the knee are like tires on a car. If you have four worn-out tires, it does no good to replace one. But if you have four new tires – and only one gets damaged – why replace all four?" said Dr. Brian Ceccarelli, an orthopedic surgeon with Orthopedic Associates of SW Ohio. Likewise, a partial replacement – not a total– should be considered when only one knee compartment is damaged. But how do you know?

"Sometimes patients can put their finger right where it hurts. If the X-ray compares with the same area of pain, the patient will likely do well with a partial," he said. Other considerations are age, weight, activity level, and range of motion. Patients with ligament instability, rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory disorders may not be ideal candidates for partials, he said.

Compared to a total replacement, a partial is less invasive. "After surgery, the knee feels more like a normal knee and has better range of motion," he said. "You might get 10 or 15 years out of it before it’s time for a total knee replacement."

A partial replacement is technically more demanding than a total replacement, so some orthopedic surgeons don’t do partials. Dr. Ceccarelli has done both surgeries for 25 years.

"A partial is a wonderful surgery – but in the correct scenario and in the right patient," he said.

If you are considering a knee replacement, you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Ceccarelli to discuss your options.

Dr. Ceccarelli is a board certified orthopedic surgeon with Orthopedic Associates of SW Ohio. We have multiple offices located throughout the Miami Valley region to provide convenient, high quality, orthopedic care to the community.


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