Your surgeon will make a 4 - 5 inch surgical cut on the area where the osteotomy is being done.
If you are having a tibial osteotomy, the cut is made below the kneecap.
If you are having a femoral osteotomy, the cut is made above the kneecap.
For a closing wedge osteotomy, the surgeon may remove a wedge of your shinbone from underneath the healthy side of your knee.
For an opening wedge osteotomy, the surgeon may also open a wedge on the painful side of the knee.
Staples, screws, or plates may be used, depending on the type of osteotomy.
You may need a bone graft to fill out the wedge.
The procedure usually takes 1 to 1 1/2 hours to perform.
Why the Procedure is Performed
Osteotomy of the knee is done to treat symptoms of knee arthritis that no longer respond to other treatments.
Arthritis most often affects the inside part of the knee. The outside part of the knee usually isn't affected. This often occurs because the inside of the knee holds more of your weight than the outside of the knee when you walk and stand.
Knee replacement surgery may not be the best option for some people. By having an osteotomy, you and your doctor may be able to delay a knee replacement for up to 10 years, while still allowing you to stay active.
Osteotomy surgery works by shifting the weight away from the damaged part of your knee to the other side of the knee when you stand. For the surgery to be successful, the side of the knee where the weight is being shifted should have little or no arthritis.
C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.