Outpatient Unicondylar Knee Replacement

What is Daycase Unicondylar Knee Replacement?

A unicondylar knee replacement, also known as unicompartmental or partial knee replacement, is a procedure to replace a portion of the damaged knee joint (osteoarthritis) with a prosthetic implant to relieve pain and improve function of the knee joint. Traditionally performed as an inpatient procedure, advances in technology and techniques have allowed this procedure to be performed in a minimally invasive manner as a daycase allowing patients to go home the same day of the surgery 

Knee Anatomy

The knee is made up of the femur (thighbone), the tibia (shinbone), and patella (kneecap). The lower end of the thighbone meets the upper end of the shinbone at the knee joint. A small bone called the patella (kneecap) rests on a groove on the front side of the femoral end. A bone of the lower leg (fibula) forms a joint with the shinbone. The bones are held together by protective tissues, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Synovial fluid within the joint aids in smooth movement of the bones over one another. The meniscus, a soft crescent-shaped cartilage between the femur and tibia, serves as a cushion and helps absorb shock during motion.

Who might be suitable for Unicondylar Knee Replacement?

Patients with:

  • Osteoarthritis of the knee joint isolated to one area in the knee
  • Significant pain, swelling, and stiffness affecting mobility and quality of life

What Happens during Daycase Unicondylar Knee Replacement?

The operation is performed in an outpatient setting under anesthesia. After adequately sterilizing the surgical area, the surgeon makes a small cut to gain access to the affected knee compartment. The supporting structures of the knee are gently moved out of the way and the damaged cartilage and bone tissue from the surfaces of the femur and tibia are removed. Your surgeon prepares these surfaces appropriately to insert specifically sized prosthetic components to your joint. These components are then secured to the bone. All surrounding tissues and structures are restored to their normal anatomic position, and the cut is closed with sutures and sterile dressings.

What happens after the surgery?

As it is a daycase surgery, you will be able to leave the hospital on the same day once your anesthesia wears off and you are safe to be discahrged. You will be given postoperative instructions on:

  • Use of assistive devices for walking, such as a cane
  • Limited weight-bearing activities
  • Surgical site care
  • Physical therapy and exercise regimen
  • Adherence to pain medications to keep you comfortable
  • Adherence to your follow-up appointments

What are the Advantages of Daycase Unicondylar Knee Replacement?

The advantages of an daycase unicondylar knee replacement procedure include:

  • Minimal surgical incision
  • Shorter recovery period
  • Shorter hospital stays with same day discharge
  • Reduced postoperative pain
  • Less blood loss during surgery
  • Less damage to surrounding tissues

What are the Risks and Complications Associated with Daycase Unicondylar Knee Replacement?

Daycase unicondylar knee replacement is relatively a safe procedure, but however, as with any procedure, it does carry some risks, including:

  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Injury to nerves and blood vessels
  • Fracture
  • Implant loosening
  • Excess bone and scar tissue formation around the artificial knee joint causing reduced mobility
  • The General Medical Council
  • The British Medical Association (BMA)
  • NHS website
  • The Royal College of Surgeons of England
  • British Orthopaedic Association
  • British Association for Surgery of the Knee
  • European Society for Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery and Arthroscopy
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Top Doctors
  • Percival Pott Club
  • Magellan Orthopaedic Society