Partial Knee Replacement Surgery

Stephen Rawlings, a painter and decorator, from Crossgates, Leeds, was in agony from the osteoarthritis pain in his left knee. It was so bad he could barely climb a flight of stairs. He had partial knee replacement surgery at Spire Leeds Hospital under the care of Mr Aaron Ng.

One day while playing golf, he was walking down the 16th fairway when his leg gave way and he collapsed. He had to use a golf buggy to take himself back to the clubhouse.

“I tried to carry on with my life but the pain was excruciating,” said Stephen, who has six grandchildren. “It was keeping me awake at night and it became increasingly difficult to work as I was constantly climbing up and down ladders. It really affected me badly because I have always been active. Besides golf I also used to play football, rugby and did a bit of boxing.”

Stephen saw his GP in June last year and following diagnostic tests and scans Stephen was diagnosed with a ‘bucket handle tear’ in his cartilage. He tried physiotherapy, which helped ease the pain a little, but he knew he needed a long-term solution.

He was waiting to have an arthroscopy, but when the date was advised he was working away in Hull. Whilst working there he met a friend who was on crutches who had had his knee treated surgically. “Listening to my friend’s experience scared me and I kept putting off having surgery,” said Stephen.

Last year the pain intensified. He was unable to sleep and was off work for several weeks in June and again in September, when he was referred to Mr Aaron Ng, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Spire Leeds Hospital. X-rays revealed that whilst the outside of his knee was fine, the inside of the knee had deteriorated.

“Stephen was suffering from osteoarthritis of his left knee,” said Mr Ng. “The symptoms were affecting his daily activities and his quality of life. Without surgery I think that he would have had to change his lifestyle and leave his job.”

Mr Ng performed a partial knee replacement under spinal anaesthesia on 25 November 2013 using a minimally invasive approach. During the two-hour procedure he excised the arthritis and inserted the partial knee replacement.

“I advised partial knee replacement for Stephen because the arthritis was only affecting part of his knee. Partial knee replacement is a more conservative approach than total knee replacement, with a faster recovery time, less scarring and is associated with lower rates of infection and has a better outcome score. This was a good choice for Stephen, as I knew he was keen to return to work as soon as possible,” added Mr Ng.

Stephen said, “Mr Ng described in detail what he was going to do. He was so reassuring I never had any qualms. I wanted to get it done straight away and get on with my life.”

“I felt better soon after the surgery,” said Stephen, who was able to return home four days after surgery. After six weeks of physiotherapy he returned for his follow-up consultation “Mr Ng was absolutely delighted with my progress and the first question I asked was when I could start playing golf again.”

Stephen returned to the golf course as soon as he was advised it was safe to do so and he returned to work at the beginning of February.

“It feels terrific to get back to work and it’s fantastic to be playing golf again. This procedure has definitely been life changing for me and I thank Mr Ng for the difference he has made to my life.”

Unicompartmental (Partial) Knee Replacement

According to the UK National Joint Registry, in England & Wales 79,516 total knee replacements were performed in 2011. Approximately 8-9% of knee replacement surgery in the UK is done for partial knee replacement. Average age is 67.4 with 50% of this age group being female. Less than 8,000 partial knee replacements were done in the UK in 2011.

Partial knee replacement is often performed using minimally invasive technique with a smaller incision and reduction in bone resection causing less damage to the extensor mechanism of the knee. Overall recovery is often faster and causes less scarring compared with total knee replacement and provides a good clinical outcome for the treatment of isolated medial compartment osteoarthritis of the knee. *