Knee osteotomy is a surgery that is recommended for patients who suffer from damage to a localized area of their knee, mostly due to illnesses like arthritis. Typically, the procedure involves adding or removing a wedge of bone to the lower thighbone or upper shinbone in order to help shift the weight of the body from the damaged portion of the knee joint.

This surgical procedure is usually performed on people who are too young for a complete knee replacement. The primary reason is that complete replacements tend to wear off much faster if the person is younger than age 50. Most of the people who undergo an osteotomy will eventually have to go for a complete replacement 15 to 20 years after the surgery is conducted.

Why Is It Done?

Slick cartilage makes it possible for the bone ends to move smoothly against one another in a healthy knee. If the patient suffers from osteoarthritis, it causes damage and wears the cartilage away, thereby creating a rougher surface.

When the cartilage of the patient wears away in an uneven manner, it ends up narrowing the space between the tibia and femur, which causes an outward or inward bow depending on the side of the knee that is affected.

Adding or removing a wedge of the bone in the lower thighbone or the upper shinbone can straighten out the bowing and shift the body weight to the undamaged side of the joint. This prolongs its life and eliminates the pain caused to the patient.

Preparation for the Osteotomy

The surgeon will study your knee x-rays to determine whether you are an ideal candidate for an osteotomy and will also decide the extent of correction required. Since you will be given anesthesia, you will need to refrain from drinking or eating before the procedure.

If you are on any medication, let the surgeon know and they will tell you whether you should take them on the morning of the surgery.

What Does the Osteotomy Procedure Entail?

After administering anesthesia, the surgeon will make a small incision over the area of knee bone that needs to be remodeled. Depending on where you have the most damage, the surgery might involve either your thighbone or your shinbone. Shinbone osteotomies are more common.

The simplest variation of the procedure includes removing a wedge of the knee bone. The cut edges are then brought together and fastened with metal hardware. Another option is to cut off the thighbone or shinbone and insert a bone wedge from a bone bank or the pelvis. Metal hardware is used to secure all the pieces together.

The Recovery Process

Depending on how complex the surgery is and how well your body heals, you will need to stay in the hospital for a couple of days. You will also need to make use of crutches for two months for the bone to heal properly. Rehabilitation might take about six months, and you will need to exercise to strengthen the muscles in your thigh and improve your balance.

Schedule Your Informative Appointment

If you are experiencing knee issues, it may be time to pay a visit to Dr. David Sneed, an experienced family physician. Contact the office of Dr. Sneed to arrange your consultation.