Knee Replacement (Partial) Skip To Content

Partial knee replacement surgery can be performed in painful arthritic knees that are no longer helped with non-surgical treatments.  Partial knee replacement is carried out to treat arthritis that is isolated to one weight bearing region of the knee.  The surgery removes the surface of the joint in the diseased area, but leaves the healthy, non-arthritic, parts of the knee alone.  The most commonly performed partial knee replacements are used to treat arthritis in the medial (inside) half of the joint or arthritis behind the patella.

For a partial knee replacement to work well the non-diseased weight bearing parts of the joint need to be in good condition and the knee ligaments need to be stable.  This is the case in approximately 30% of arthritic knees.

The potential advantages of partial knee replacement, compared with a conventional knee replacement are:

  • smaller incisions and less bone removed
  • shorter length of hospital stay
  • faster mobilisation and recovery
  • improved range of movement after the surgery
  • reduced risk of blood clots and infection
  • a more ‘normal’ feeling knee with better function

The disadvantages of partial knee replacement, compared with total knee replacement, are:

the other ‘normal’ parts of the knee can wear out in time
the chance of needing a revision (new replacement) or further surgery is higher with partial knee replacement compared with a total knee replacement 

Your surgeon will discuss the suitability of partial and total knee replacement surgery with you if joint replacement surgery is deemed necessary.

You will be admitted on the same day as your operation.

The surgery is usually performed using a regional (spinal) anaesthetic with sedation or a general anaesthetic. The operation takes 1-2 hours.  Your surgeon will inspect the inside part of your knee.  If the arthritis is isolated to one weight-bearing region then the partial knee replacement will be performed.  If there appears to be significant wear or damage in other parts of the knee, or if the ligaments inside the knee are not working, your surgeon will perform a total knee replacement instead of the partial knee replacement.

The knee implants are securely fixed in place and bending the knee should start immediately after the surgery.  Normally you will be up walking on your knee the same day as your surgery with the help of a physiotherapist.  The knee is often far more sore the day after the surgery and you will be given regular pain killers to help with this.  It is important to ice the knee frequently to help reduce the swelling and keep it elevated when you are not up and around.

Usually you will be ready to go home two days after your surgery, however this can vary.  It is important once home that you continue with the regular pain killers, icing and exercise regimen as this helps to improve the range of movement and reduce the swelling.

Following any form of knee replacement - partial or total - it is normal for the knee to continue to be uncomfortable, swollen and warm for up to three months.  From this time the swelling gradually subsides.  It usually takes 12-18 months for all of the improvement to be felt in the knee following partial or total replacement.

Partial knee replacement surgery is commonly performed and generally safe.  However, in order to make an informed decision and give your consent, you need to be aware of the possible side-effects and the risk of complications of this procedure.


These are the unwanted, but mostly temporary effects of a successful treatment, for example feeling sick as a result of the anaesthetic.

Your knee will feel sore and stiff and may be swollen for up to six months.

You will have a scar over the front of the knee.  You may not have any feeling in the skin around your scar. This can be permanent, but could improve over one to two years.  The scar may be uncomfortable to kneel on.


This is when problems occur during or after the operation. Most people are not affected. The possible complications of any operation include an unexpected reaction to the anaesthetic, excessive bleeding or developing a blood clot, usually in a vein in the leg (DVT).

Specific complications of knee replacement are uncommon, but can include:

  • infection of the wound or joint - antibiotics are given during and after surgery to help prevent this
  • unstable joint - your knee joint may become loose and you may require further surgery to correct this
  • dislocation of bearing – the plastic bearing that separates the metal implants may slip out of place, usually as a result of a large twisting injury to the knee
  • damage to nerves or blood vessels.  This is usually mild and temporary.
  • scar tissue - can build up and restrict your movement.  Further surgery may be needed to correct this
  • on-going pain - some patients continue to suffer pain in their knee despite replacement surgery

The artificial knee joint usually lasts for over 10 years.  Over time it may begin to wear out or become loose, like any other mechanical device, after which you may need to have it replaced.

The exact risks are specific to you and will differ for every person.  Your surgeon will discuss risks with you and be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.


Initial consultation From: £150
Treatment £14,007
Pre-assessment Included
Main treatment Included
Post-discharge care Included
Guide price £14,307

*The above prices are guide prices only and subject to change at any given time. Diagnostic scans and investigations are not part of the guide price. The guide price indicates the starting price for the treatment.

The cost of treatment will be made clear to you before you proceed with any tests, scans, consultations, or treatment. Please read our terms and conditions. If you have private medical insurance please follow the guidance here.

Get easy accessibility to diagnostics and treatments. Make an enquiry