Type of Surgery
Last updated: 02/17/2009
Knee osteotomy is surgery that removes a part of the bone of the joint of either the bottom of the femur (upper leg bone) or the top of the tibia (lower leg bone) to increase the stability of the knee. Osteotomy redistributes the weight-bearing force...
on the knee by cutting a wedge of bone away to reposition the knee. The angle of deformity in the knee dictates whether the surgery is to correct a knee that angles inward, known as a varus procedure, or one that angles outward, called a valgus procedure. Varus osteotomy involves the medial (inner) section of the knee at the top of the tibia. Valgus osteotomy involves the lateral (outer) compartment of the knee by shaping the bottom of the femur.
Knee osteotomy is commonly used to realign arthritic damage on one side of the knee. The goal is to shift the patient's body weight off the damaged area to the other side of the knee, where the cartilage is still healthy. Surgeons remove a wedge of the shinbone from underneath the healthy side of the knee, which allows the shinbone and thighbone to bend away from the damaged cartilage.
A model for this is the hinges on a door. When the door is shut, the hinges are flush against the wall. As the door swings open, one side of the door remains pressed against the wall as space opens up on the other side. Removing just a small wedge of bone can "swing" the knee open, pressing the healthy tissue together as space opens up between the thighbone and shinbone on the damaged side so that the arthritic surfaces do not rub against each other.
Osteotomy is also used as an alternative treatment to total knee replacement in younger and active patients. Because prosthetic knees may wear out over time, an osteotomy procedure can enable younger, active osteoarthritis patients to continue using the healthy portion of their knee. The procedure can delay the need for a total knee replacement for up to ten years.
Orthopedic complaints are the most common reason to seek medical care.
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