Knee Osteotomy

1 What is a Knee Osteotomy?

A surgical procedure that may be suggested if you have arthritis damage in just one area of your knee is called knee osteotomy.

To help shift your body weight off the damaged portion of your knee joint, this will remove or add a wedge of bone to tibia and femur. If you are too young for a knee replacement, knee osteotomy will be recommended by your doctor.

Total knee replacements wear out much more quickly in people younger than 55 than in people older than 70. Usually, about 10 to 15 years after the knee osteotomy, this person will eventually need a total knee replacement.

2 Reasons for Procedure

Here are the most common reasons to receive a knee osteotomy.

Slick cartilage allows the ends of the bones in a healthy knee to move smoothly against each other. Osteoarthritis creates rough surfaces because it can damage and wears away cartilage.

The space between the tibia and femur will narrow which can lead to a bow inward or outward depending on which side of the knee is affected if the cartilage wears away evenly.

To help strengthen the bowling, shift your weight to the undamaged part of your knee point and to prolong the lifespan of the knee joint, you should remove or add a wedge of bone in your lower thighbone or upper shinbone.

3 Potential Risks

The potential risks of knee osteotomy might include:

  • Failure of the pieces of bone to knit together.
  • Infection in the surrounding soft tissues or in the bone.
  • Injuries to blood vessels or nerves around the knee.

4 Preparing for your Procedure

In preparing for your knee osteotomy, you must follow your doctor’s orders. 

To determine if osteotomy is appropriate and how much correction of the deformity is needed, your surgeon will study X-rays of your knee.

You are not allowed to eat or drink before the procedure because you are going to receive anesthesia.

Follow your doctor’s instructions about the medications that you are taking.

5 What to Expect

Here’s what you can expect before, during, and after your knee osteotomy.

You will be given anesthesia and then your surgeon will make an incision over the area of bone to be remodeled. This procedure may involve your thighbone or shinbone depending on the location of the arthritis damage within your knee but the most common involve the shinbone.

Your surgeon will then remove a wedge of bone; the cut edges will be brought together and fastened in place with metal hardware. Or your surgeon may cut a thighbone or shinbone and insert a wedge of bone either from your bone bank or pelvis then he will secure it with metal hardware. You might stay at the hospital for a day or two depending on the complexity of the surgery.

For two months you will need crutches so your bone can heal properly and rehabilitation can take up about six months and with exercises designed to:

  • Improve your balance.
  • Strengthen your thigh muscles (quadriceps).
  • Increase your knee’s range of motion.

Sometimes a brace is used to support the bone while it heals.

6 Procedure Results

Understanding the results of your knee osteotomy will be made possible by your doctor.

Knee osteotomy postpones the need for a total knee replacement by 10 to 15 years or to relieve the pain of arthritis.