Osteotomy is a surgical procedure that involves bone-cutting. The surgeon removes a wedge of bone located near the damaged joint. The procedure is supposed to cause a shift of weight from the area where there is cartilage damage to an area where there is more normal or healthy cartilage. This procedure is usually performed on young patients whom don’t want a total joint replacement yet.
When conservative treatments for osteoarthritis, or other types of arthritis, fail to satisfactorily relieve pain and restore function to the affected joint, it may be time to consider joint surgery. But, which surgical option should you consider? Which surgical procedure would most effectively relieve your pain and improve mobility?
It’s best to learn about the various types of joint surgery and understand your options. When most patients think of joint surgery, they think of total joint replacement. But, there are other procedures you should know about. There is arthroscopic surgery, hip resurfacing, arthrodesis (fusion), minimally-invasive replacement for the hip and knee, uni-compartmental knee surgery, and, of course, osteotomy of the knee or hip. Here, we will concentrate on osteotomy.
The bones are cut, reshaped or partially removed to realign the load-bearing surfaces of the joint.
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. In addition to non-symmetrical arthritic damage to the joint, patients suffering from knock-knee (Valgus) or Bowleg (Varus) disorders might also require this surgery in a way that would be elaborated in the next section.
Who Is a Candidate for Osteotomy?
Generally, people who are under 60 years old, active, and overweight are considered appropriate candidates for osteotomy.
Recovering from Osteotomy
Depending on the complexities of the procedure and the strength of the individual patient, crutches are needed for between 1 and 1.5 months. Physical therapy, leg-strengthening exercises, and walking are part of the full rehabilitation program. While some surgeons predict that a return to full activities is possible after 3 to 6 months, others claim it may take up to a year to adjust to the corrected position of the knee after knee osteotomy.