Types of Knee Replacements for Golfers

By Clint Hale

Knee injuries are an unfortunate byproduct of playing sports, including golf. High profile golfers like Tiger Woods missed time while rehabbing from knee surgery. One type of knee surgery performed on athletes is knee replacements, which can be performed in a number of ways, depending on the severity of the injury, as well as the orthopedic surgeon's preferred method of knee replacement.

Total Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement surgery replaces the knee with a prosthesis (metal or plastic) that functions as the new joint. The success and recovery time needed for this surgery has increased dramatically over the last 30 years, according to the Mayo Clinic. The clinic also states that this procedure is ideal for adults of all ages, though younger patients may wear out the new knee joint much more quickly. Approximately 90 percent of those who undergo total knee replacement are free from pain and have improved mobility about 15 years after the operation. This is an option from those who suffer from severe knee pain. 

Unicompartmental (Partial) Knee Replacement

Geared for older patients with arthritis, this surgery features replacement of a certain damaged section of the knee joint, hence the term partial knee replacement. About 7,500 partial knee replacements are performed in the U.S. annually. Compared to total knee replacement, however, partial knee surgery may not provide the same long-term results. The Mayo Clinic says future surgeries may be rendered more difficult because of partial knee replacement.

Bilateral Knee Replacement

This surgery is geared toward those with pain and arthritis in both knees, as it replaces both knees simultaneously. This surgery is not particularly common compared to total or partial replacement, and candidates must be in good health to undergo it.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

This type of surgery allows doctors to replace a knee with very small surgical incisions. It can be difficult to perform and is not recommended for all patients. It is also not ideal for knees with significant deformity or previous major surgery.

About The Author

Clint Hale has worked for a number of media outlets throughout his seven-year career, including the San Antonio Express-News (for whom he covered golf, football, and general features) and Examiner.com. He earned a Journalism degree from the University of Texas.

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