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Unicompartmental Knee Replacement


Unicompartmental knee replacement (UKR) is surgery to remove part of the knee joint damaged by wear, injury, or disease. The knee is made up of 3 compartments (sections). The middle and side sections are where the femur (thigh bone) meets the tibia (large lower bone or shin bone). The third section is where the patella (kneecap) meets the femur. During UKR, only the damaged section is removed and replaced with a knee implant.

Knee Anatomy



  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
  • NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs are available without a doctor's order. Ask your primary healthcare provider which medicine is right for you. Ask how much to take and when to take it. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding and kidney problems if not taken correctly.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine will help fight or prevent an infection. Take your antibiotics until they are gone, even if you feel better.
  • Anticoagulants are a type of blood thinner medicine that helps prevent clots. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. These medicines may cause you to bleed or bruise more easily.
    • Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth and a soft toothbrush. If you shave, use an electric razor. Avoid activities that can cause bruising or bleeding.
    • Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines you take because many medicines cannot be used with anticoagulants. Do not start or stop any medicines unless your healthcare provider tells you to. Tell your dentist and other healthcare providers that you take anticoagulants. Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you take this medicine.
    • You will need regular blood tests so your healthcare provider can decide how much medicine you need. Take anticoagulants exactly as directed. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you forget to take the medicine, or if you take too much.
    • If you take warfarin, some foods can change how your blood clots. Do not make major changes to your diet while you take warfarin. Warfarin works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, grapes, and other foods. Ask for more information about what to eat when you take warfarin.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or orthopedist as directed:

You may need to return to have your wound checked and stitches, staples, or drain removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Physical therapy:

A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.


  • Care for your wound as directed: Ask how and when to change your bandage and clean your wound.
  • Use ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel, and place it on your knee for 15 to 20 minutes every hour as directed.
  • Wear pressure stockings: These are long, tight stockings that put pressure on your legs to promote blood flow and prevent clots.

  • Use a knee brace, cane, walker, or crutches as directed: These devices will help decrease your risk of falling.
  • Prevent dislocation of your knee implant: Do not cross your legs so that your ankle is resting on the knee where you had surgery.

Contact your primary healthcare provider or orthopedist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • There is fluid in your drain for more than 4 days after surgery.
  • You have trouble moving or bending your knee.
  • Your knee incision begins to drain fluid again after it had stopped.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You feel like you are going to faint.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • Your incision comes apart.
  • Your incision is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You cannot walk or move your knee.
  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.