If the osteoarthritis in your knee is limited to a single area, you may only need a partial knee replacement.

Your knee is divided into three compartments: the medial compartment (the inside part of the knee), the lateral compartment (the outside part), and the patellofemoral compartment (the front of the knee between the kneecap and thighbone).

With a partial knee replacement, only the damaged compartment is replaced with metal and plastic. The healthy cartilage and bone in the rest of the knee is left untouched.

The advantages of partial knee replacement over total knee replacement include:

  • Quicker recovery
  • Less pain after surgery
  • Less blood loss
  • May allow the knee to bend better

Because the healthy bone, cartilage, and ligaments are kept, most patients also report that a partial knee replacement feels more "natural" than a total knee replacement.