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Knee Osteotomy

What is Knee Osteotomy?

Knee osteotomy is a surgical procedure in which the upper shinbone (tibia) or lower thighbone (femur) is cut and realigned. It is usually performed in arthritic conditions affecting only one side of your knee. The aim is to take pressure off the damaged area and shift it to the other side of your knee with healthy cartilage. During the surgery, your surgeon will remove or add a wedge of bone either below or above the knee joint, depending on the site of arthritic damage. 

Indications of Knee Osteotomy

Knee osteotomy is commonly indicated for osteoarthritis that is isolated to a single compartment (unicompartmental osteoarthritis). 

Knee Osteotomy Procedure

A high tibial osteotomy is the most common type of osteotomy performed on arthritic knees. After general anesthesia is administered, your surgeon will map out the exact size of the bone wedge to be removed using an X-ray, CT scan or 3D computer modeling. 

A four- to five-inch cut is made down in front of the knee, starting below the kneecap and running below the top of the shinbone. Guide wires are drilled from the lateral side to the top of the shinbone. A conventional oscillating saw is run along the guide wires and the bone wedge underneath the outside of the knee, below the healthy cartilage, is removed. The cartilage covering the top of the outside of the shinbone is left intact. Then, the top of the shinbone is reduced and fastened with surgical staples or screws. After the procedure is completed, the surgical site is then sutured usually with absorbable sutures and closed in layers.

Complications of Knee Osteotomy

Complications following high tibial osteotomy may include infection, skin necrosis, non-union (failure of the bones to heal), nerve injury, blood vessel injury, failure to correct the varus deformity, compartment syndrome, and deep vein thrombosis or blood clots.

  • University of Notre Dame
  • Saint Joseph Health System
  • Beacon Health System
  •  American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • The American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics
  • American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons
  • American Board of Medical Specialties
  • American Board of Medical Specialties
  • American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery
  • American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • North American Spine Society
  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • Zimmer Biomet
  • Stryker Corporation
  • Arthrex
  • Breg
  • Smith+Nephew
  • DePuy Synthes