What you should know about knee osteotomy

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Knee osteotomy is a surgical procedure aimed at realigning the knees. It is used in situations where osteoarthritis has affected only one side of the knee cartilage. One-sided degeneration can lead to the knee curving inwards or bulging outwards depending on the wasted side.

Who’s a good candidate for a knee osteotomy?

The procedure is suitable for persons younger than 40 years and who have an active lifestyle. However, an osteotomy is a temporary solution.

How is it done?

A knee surgeon can choose to conduct the osteotomy in two ways. The first way is the opening wedge osteotomy, where the surgeon cuts across the bone and then fills it with a bone graft. The opened wedge is then fixed with plates and screws.

The other option is the closing wedge osteotomy. Instead of filling the bone, the surgeon cuts a bone wedge from either the thighbone or shinbone. Most knee surgeons prefer the shinbone for knee osteotomy. The edges of the cut bone and the knee are then held together with metal plates.

How long does it take to recover?

The duration needed for full recovery varies from person to person. Some people may go home the same day; others might have to stay at the hospital for one or two nights. However, it may be difficult to walk without crutches for at least six weeks, and in some cases, rehabilitation may take up to six months.

Expected results

One key advantage of having a knee osteotomy is that it allows you to enjoy unrestricted strenuous physical activity after healing. An osteotomy will also postpone the need for a complete knee replacement for about 10 to 15 years.

Are there any alternatives?

The available alternative for knee osteotomy is the uni-compartmental knee replacement. It is also known as partial or customised knee replacement. It is a localised procedure that is carried out through small incisions. Consequently, patients who choose this tend to recover faster.

Knee osteotomy is an excellent alternative to a total knee replacement. However, ensure you discuss the details with an orthopaedic surgeon beforehand.

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