4 Types of Knee Joint Surgery

June 17, 2022 | By: Raleigh Orthopaedic Team

Knee replacement is a well-established procedure for reinstating function and comfort to knees damaged by arthritis or injury. When performed by an experienced surgeon, knee surgery can be an effective technique for treating knees with damaged joint surfaces. Good planning and consistent rehabilitation efforts by a motivated patient will ensure the best possible outcome. We have prepared a list of procedures that may be discussed by your physician when you are considering knee surgery.

When to consider knee surgery?

Surgery is often a last resort for many patients. Typically, your physician will work with you through more conservative treatments before recommending joint surgery. Conservative treatments may include physical therapy, medications, injections, mobility aids, and lifestyle changes such as diet. When nonsurgical means are no longer helpful, joint replacement surgery may be the next option to consider.

Types of Knee Replacement

More than 90% of people who have knee replacement surgery experience a dramatic reduction of knee pain, an increase in mobility, and ability to return to daily living.

The following are knee replacement procedures that your doctor may recommend to relieve pain and make it possible to perform daily activities more easily.

  • Total Knee Replacement – involves removing the diseased portion of the knee joint and resurfacing the ends of the bones with the new prosthesis. There are four parts to a knee prosthesis: the femoral part caps the end of the thigh bone, the tibial part caps the top of the shin bone, a bearing surface sits between these two components and another bearing surface sits underneath the kneecap. These parts are most commonly made of metal and plastic. The metal caps the ends of the bones and the plastic functions as the new cartilage.
  • Partial Knee Replacement – also called a unicompartmental knee replacement, is a surgical procedure that replaces only the damaged part of the knee while conserving knee ligaments and unaffected cartilage. It is an alternative to total knee replacement for people with osteoarthritis of the knee. It is often used on younger patients to accelerate recovery time and reduce pain or for older individuals who are involved in few activities.
  • Knee Arthroscopy – is a surgical procedure that allows doctors to view the knee joint without making a large incision (cut) through the skin and other soft tissues. Arthroscopy is used to diagnose and treat a wide range of knee problems. During knee arthroscopy, your surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into your knee joint. The camera displays pictures on a video monitor, and your surgeon uses these images to guide miniature surgical instruments. Because the arthroscope and surgical instruments are thin, your surgeon can use very small incisions, rather than the larger incision needed for open surgery. This results in less pain and joint stiffness for patients, and often shortens the time it takes to recover and return to favorite activities.
  • Knee Osteotomy – a surgery in which a wedge of bone is either removed or added to the femur or tibia in order to redistribute weight from the damaged or diseased portion of the joint. This procedure is most often recommended when only a part of the knee joint is damaged.

It is important to keep in mind that your doctor will work with you to determine the proper course of treatment, suited to your particular condition, pain, health history, and activity level.


Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic is home to a team of board-certified, fellowship-trained surgeons who are experts in providing comprehensive orthopedic treatments and surgeries, including partial knee replacement. Using advanced technology, we are able to diagnose and treat any knee-related injury or condition, and get you back to doing the things you love most. To speak with one of our orthopedic specialists or to schedule an appointment at Raleigh Orthopaedic, please contact us today. We look forward to helping you get on track to more active and comfortable living.

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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

For more information on knee replacement, visit one of our related blog posts. 

Total Knee Replacement: Do You Need It?

Partial Knee Replacement