See the difference! Knee Replacement vs. HemiCAP

October 10, 2014

The majority of people who suffer from knee pain are not fully aware of all the options available to them or how some could negatively affect their lives following surgery. Many though, are familiar with total knee replacements as a major surgery designed to relieve the pain of widespread arthritis. However, for people with isolated damage, there are more effective options that are much less invasive than a total joint replacement. For example, the HemiCAP implant only restores the damaged area of the joint rather than replacing it entirely, allowing for considerably less bone removal. The team at Arthrosurface captured the following images to document just how drastically different the two procedures are.

To perform this experiment, two standard sawbone foam knee models were used. These are anatomically similar to a person’s knee joint.

knee replacement

Sawbone knee model

A total knee replacement was implanted into one sawbone (left) and the Arthrosurface Patello-Femoral HemiCAP into the other (right).

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Left: Total Knee Replacement; Right: Knee HemiCAP

After being implanted, both devices were taken out of the sawbones to examine the amount of bone that had been removed.

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Left: Bone loss from Total Knee Replacement; Right: Bone loss from Knee HemiCAP

As you can see, the total joint replacement on the left removed a vast amount of bone. In addition to massive bone removal, traditional knee replacements also typically remove all cartilage, ligaments, usually the ACL, PCL, and both menisci in the knee. Because it is an artificial joint, the patient’s motion is no longer normal and activities can be severely limited.

The HemiCAP procedure removes significantly less bone (pictured on the right) while cartilage, all ligaments and soft tissue structures are left intact. Unlike the total replacement, the Arthrosurface solution is designed to protect the remaining, healthy cartilage in the joint and does not remove excessive bone or tissue. The patient’s natural anatomy is preserved, allowing patients to resume an active lifestyle without pain.

It is important to research ALL of your available options, educate yourself and get a second opinion if you are uncomfortable with the option presented by your surgeon. Below are some helpful questions you may want to ask your doctor if considering surgery:

  • Will my joint feel normal and move naturally after I have the surgery?
  • Will you remove my ACL?
  • Is my cartilage damage localized?
  • Is the alignment of my joint close to normal?
  • Is my joint unstable?
  • Do I have any joint space remaining?
  • How long will I be hospitalized?
  • Can the procedure be performed on an outpatient basis?
  • Will the recovery take weeks or months?
  • Can I go back to all my previous sports and activities?

Learn more about the HemiCAP technology.

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37 responses to “See the difference! Knee Replacement vs. HemiCAP”

  1. Julia ilg says:

    I don’t have any cartledge in my knee left. Can I still get HemiCsp?

    • arthrosurface says:

      Hi Julia – Your best option would be to make an appointment with a surgeon who uses our HemiCAP products. They will be able to tell if you are a candidate.

  2. Janice says:

    I been hurting now for about 6 years no cushion between my knees am I a candidate for hemicap.

  3. Yvonne says:

    I am bone on bone right knee.Am 54 and have cancelled two tkr through fear. Would I be considered for this type off surgery.

  4. Soula Deobler says:

    How do I find out what Drs. Do this procedure? I am in Los Angeles.

  5. Doug wright says:

    I weightlift and skydive. I am curious if I can still continue these activities after the hemi cap for both knees.

    Weights: lunges, squats, etc
    Skydiving: high speed landings, can be jarring at times.

    Had shoulder hemi cap done three years ago. All is good!

  6. Dawn Storey says:

    I am bone on bone and scheduled to do total knee replacement soon. Is hemicap an option for me?

  7. pamela piper says:

    I would like additional information.

  8. Julian Cox says:

    My right knee is bone on bone and my left is nearly there. Would this procedure be better than full knee replacement? What is recovery time? I am in Lakeland, Florida. Wonder if Dr. Goldsmith in Plant City, Florida uses your products. I look forward to your reply.

  9. Roman Bensman says:


    I have had 3 meniscectomies on my right knee and have very little meniscus left on the medial side. I am curious if this procedure can help in my case.

    Please let me know!

    Thank you,
    Roman Bensman.

    • arthrosurface says:

      Hi Roman, It’s possible that you are a candidate for an Arthrosurface Knee Implant, however, only a licensed doctor can provide that information for you. Please email us your location and we can provide a list of surgeons near you who are experienced with our Knee implant systems (

  10. Cheryl says:

    I am bone on bone with very little cartilage left.would this procedure work for me? Having a meniscus clean up on Wednesday but told I need a replacement in near future.

  11. Lee lawson says:

    I would like more information

    • arthrosurface says:

      Hi Lee, we just sent you an email with some more information. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  12. Mary Mills says:

    Would like information on what Drs in my area that provide these service. And wandering if I would be a candidate. Bone on bone with knee cap partial dislocated.

  13. Vern says:

    At age 78 am I a candidate for arthosurface.

  14. I’m 60, still active I’m trying to get more answers on your hemi cap, I live in Nile Michigan. 3 doctors wanted to do a total knee replacement but I had one intern say I only needed a partial knee replacement so now I’m questioning it can you call me and get me some one in my area or closer send my x-rays to your office and you look at them thank you

  15. Wesley Richards says:

    I would like more information

  16. Declan Brennan says:

    Hi There

    How long are these implants currently surviving?

  17. Mike Connolly says:

    Is HemiCAP MRI-safe? And have there been any studies comparing outcomes with osteochondral allograft?

  18. Derrick says:

    I have erosion and a bone spur on the medial epicondyle of my left knee due to injury and a pathological medial patellar plica. My question, if I have the plica removed can I get the hemicap only on the medial epicondyl of my knee?

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