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Partial Knee Replacement: What You Need To Know

Partial Knee Replacement: What You Need To Know

Partial Knee Replacement (PKR) aims at alleviating pain and restoring function in a diseased knee joint. Unlike a total knee replacement, which replaces the entire knee joint, PKR only replaces the damaged portion of the knee, preserving as much of the natural knee structure as possible. This approach can offer several advantages including quicker recovery, less post-operative pain, and better joint movement post-surgery.

PKR caters to a growing number of individuals with localized knee arthritis, providing an alternative to total knee replacement, especially for younger or more active patients. By offering a less invasive solution with potentially faster rehabilitation, PKR plays a crucial role in helping maintain an active lifestyle post-surgery. Furthermore, with advancements in surgical techniques and prosthetic materials, PKR has become a reliable and increasingly popular choice among orthopaedic surgeons and patients alike.

Partial vs Total Knee Replacement

The surgical approach to knee arthritis or severe knee injury involves a spectrum of interventions ranging from arthroscopic procedures to knee replacements. When it comes to knee replacements, the two primary types are Partial Knee Replacement (PKR) and Total Knee Replacement (TKR). Both procedures have distinct protocols and outcomes which are tailored to meet the patient’s medical needs and lifestyle.

Key Differences Between Partial and Total Knee Replacements

Extent of Surgery:

  • PKR: Only the damaged compartment of the knee is replaced, preserving the rest of the natural knee structure.
  • TKR: Involves the replacement of all three compartments of the knee, requiring a larger incision and removal of more bone and tissue.

Prosthetic Components:

  • PKR: Fewer and smaller prosthetic components are used.
  • TKR: More extensive prosthetic components are required to replace the entire joint.

Hospital Stay and Recovery:

  • PKR: Typically associated with a shorter hospital stay and quicker rehabilitation.
  • TKR: Generally requires a longer hospital stay and extended rehabilitation period.

Range of Motion:

    • PKR: Tends to offer a better range of motion post-surgery due to the preservation of natural knee anatomy.
    • TKR: May result in a more limited range of motion compared to PKR.

Pros and Cons Concerning Recovery, Cost, and Surgical Outcomes


  • Pros of PKR: Faster recovery and return to daily activities, less post-operative pain, better knee movement.
  • Cons of PKR: May not provide as much relief if arthritis spreads to other parts of the knee.
  • Pros of TKR: Provides comprehensive relief from severe or widespread arthritis.
  • Cons of TKR: Longer recovery period, more post-operative pain, potential for less natural knee movement.


  • PKR: Generally less expensive due to shorter hospital stay and fewer prosthetic components.
  • TKR: Tends to be more expensive owing to longer hospitalisation and more extensive prosthetic components.

Surgical Outcomes:

  • PKR: Suitable for individuals with arthritis confined to a single compartment, often leading to more natural-feeling knee post-surgery.
  • TKR: Better suited for individuals with advanced arthritis affecting multiple compartments, often resulting in a less natural-feeling knee post-surgery.