Unicompartmental Knee Replacement

When advanced osteoarthritis that is limited to a single compartment in the knee, it may be treated with a unicompartmental knee replacement. Unicompartmental knee replacement, also known as a partial knee replacement, can be an effective alternative to total knee replacement for some people.

Baptist Health is nationally recognized for excellence in unicompartmental knee replacement surgery. We offer a full spectrum of orthopedic care and the latest approaches to unicompartmental knee replacement surgery. Best of all, you’ll appreciate convenient appointment times, locations near you and a personalized focus to meet your needs before, during and after your procedure.

What is a Unicompartmental Knee Replacement?

Unicompartmental knee replacement surgery is a safe and effective way to relieve knee pain associated with arthritis in only one part of the knee

  • Only the damaged compartment is replaced with metal and plastic
  • Healthy cartilage and bone, as well as all of the ligaments are preserved

Implant Components

A unicompartmental knee replacement means components (or prostheses) are implanted on just the joint surface in the knee that is damaged. The groove on the lower end of the thighbone will receive a smooth metal cap. The compartment of the knee that is damaged will receive a metal resurfacing that conforms exactly to the structure of your knee. 

Depending on your implant design and your health, the implants may be cemented into place with a fast-curing medical cement. Some knee replacement components can be pressed into place, and promote new bone growth around the implant to stabilize it.

Implant Design

The type of your knee implant will be selected based upon your size, weight, activity level and gender. This customization helps assure the most comfort, function and longevity. All components are designed to move smoothly against each other and work together to allow your knee to bend, flex and support your body. 

What Can a Unicompartmental Knee Replacement Accomplish?

A unicompartmental knee replacement may be recommended for people who have knee pain that is caused by arthritis or traumatic injury in only one compartment of the knee. A unicompartmental knee replacement is recommended to enhance comfort and mobility using a technique that removes less bone than a total knee replacement. Goals include:


  • Relieve knee pain
  • Improve knee strength
  • Increase stability
  • Deliver freedom of movement
  • Shorten recovery time when compared to a total knee replacement


What Can I Expect During the Procedure?

Once you are admitted for your unicompartmental knee replacement surgery, a member of the anesthesia team will meet with you to explain the type of anesthesia that will be used to make you comfortable during the procedure. The surgery will take about two hours. Your knee will be bent and your surgeon will remove any damaged bone and cartilage from one compartment of the knee. The damaged compartment will be replaced with metal and plastic components. Healthy cartilage and bone and all the ligaments will be preserved. The incision will be stitched or stapled.


You will typically be in the hospital one to two days after surgery. To protect against swelling or blood clots, you may wear special compression devices and be given blood-thinning medication. You will be shown how to flex and move your foot and ankle to prevent blood clots and begin the healing process.

A physical therapist will show you how to move your knee and do special exercises to strengthen your leg. You can expect to walk before you leave the hospital.

Estimated Recovery Timeline

Once home, it is important to follow all instructions about exercise, physical activity and wound care in order to successfully recover. Recovery will depend upon your age, health and physical condition before surgery. While most people resume normal activities within two weeks, your doctor will explain when you can resume activities like driving and going back to work. In general, people recover to their fullest potential extent three to six months after surgery.

Unicompartmental Knee Replacement Possible Risks

Any surgery carries risk, but a unicompartmental knee replacement is typically a safe and effective procedure to treat knee pain caused by arthritis or traumatic injury involving only one compartment of the knee. You will be given instructions about how to avoid these specific risks after your unicompartmental knee replacement surgery:


  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Falls


Knee replacements can wear out. To take good care of your new knee, avoid high-impact activities and weight gain. Avoid tobacco use at least 4 weeks prior to surgery as well as after surgery as smoking is known to delay bone and skin healing.

Next Steps with MyChart

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