Partial Knee Prosthesis - replacing only the damaged part of the knee joint
Key Facts Unicompartimental Knee Replacement (Repicci Prosthesis)
- Inpatient treatment: 5 days
- Inpatient rehabilitation: 4 weeks
- Outpatient rehabilitation: 14 days
- Time with orthesis (stabilizing bandage): 6 weeks
- Earliest flight home: 10 days after surgery
- Recommended flight home: 14 days after surgery
- Time before showering: 14 days after surgery
- Recommended time off work: up to 6 weeks (depending on profession)
- Removal of sutures: 14 days after surgery
- Time before driving a car: 6 weeks
Preserving the healthy parts of your natural Joint
Osteoarthritis, the premature attrition of joint surfaces, leads to damage of the healthy knee cartilage. In particular cases, where preservative treatment and cartilage therapy do not suffice, the possibility of joint replacement is offered. It may be offered as either a total or partial replacement, (depending on the extent of the joint damage).
For these two surgical options, different techniques are used, but they both have significantly high rates of success.
In many cases where a cartilage transplant is not possible (older patients or those with more extensive cartilage damage), most of the natural knee can be saved by using partial prosthesis (also called an inlay or unilateral knee endoprosthesis).
The knee is made up of two chambers or compartments (only one of which may be arthritic). This treatment involves a partial metal implant to the damaged joint, similar to a dental filling. This filling effectively stops the progress of osteoarthritis, while saving the intact ligaments, cartilage and bone structure. The advantage of this approach is that preserves the natural sensitivity of the knee. Another advantage of this joint preserving approach is that a “bone reservoir” is preserved. If, at some time in the future, more surgery is required, there is natural bone left to work with. This "buys" the patient valuable time for medical progress, or the next step of joint replacing prosthetics.
Advantages of Partial Prosthesis of the Knee
- minimally invasive operation
- small incision into the skin
- low risk of infection
- immediate exercise tolerance
- improved mobility
- time gained before a total joint replacement will be necessary
- average durability of 10-15 years
- allows return to conventional techniques
Unicompartmental Knee Resurfacing (Onlay)
Unlike total knee replacement surgery, this less-invasive procedure replaces only the damaged or arthritic parts of the knee.
First, the damaged part of the femur (thigh bone) is removed, so that the surgeon can access the damaged portion of the tibia (lower leg bone).
Next, the damaged mensicus is removed from the joint. Some bone is also shaved form the tibia, to make room for the new plastic component. Bone cement is then added to the newly prepared area (to act as "glue"), and the plastic tibial component is pressed into place.
A small amount of bone is removed from the damaged femoral condyle and an opening created for the metal femoral component. Bone cement is used to fill this area and the metal component is pressed into place.
Following the procedure, the new parts of the joint are tested by extending and flexing the knee through it's range of motion.
The American dentist and orthopaedist, Dr. Repicci has used techniques of dentistry in his operating methods, with the aim of retaining as much as possible of the joint. Like an inlay in dentistry only the worn part of the joint is replaced with a metal/plastic inlay, retaining all ligaments and all parts of the joint with intact cartilage.
Advantages of Repicci Implants
- only the joint surfaces are replaced
- essential ligaments are retained
- less implant/surface tension
- improved twisting movements when standing
- similar to natural mobility
- shorter rehabilitation period
- considered the "golden standard"