Common Causes of Bone Misalignment and How an Osteotomy Can Help

Any procedure that cuts or reshapes bone in your body is called an osteotomy. The reasons why they’re necessary vary, but usually, it’s to correct a misalignment of bones that causes problems with the mechanics of the way your body moves. 

Depending on the part of your body that requires realignment, an osteotomy is typically a complex surgery requiring experience and expertise. As an orthopaedic trauma surgeon with international training and recognition, Eric E. Johnson, MD, is an osteotomy specialist. As one of the leading orthopaedic experts in Los Angeles, Dr. Johnson is your best choice for osteotomy surgery. 

The osteotomy procedure

Each osteotomy procedure’s planning and complexity depends greatly on the location, the bones involved, and the severity of the misalignment. Procedures require precise measurements and removal of the existing bone. Spaces may be filled with bone grafts or fixed in place with surgical screws and plates. 

Healing is usually slow, since the bones need to knit together at the repair site, and you typically can’t place any pressure or weight on the affected bones. In some cases, you may have a cast or other means of restricting a joint’s movement as the bone recovers. Sometimes, plates and screws may be removed after healing, but they remain in place in many cases.

Common causes of bone misalignment

Broken bones are often set non-operatively, such as with a splint or cast. When the bones don’t heal as expected, you could have a condition called a malunion. If you’ve broken a bone in your leg, for example, malunion could leave your legs with different lengths. Something as simple as walking may now put undue strain on joints of both legs, from your feet to hips, and even your spine may be affected as your center of gravity changes in unnatural ways. Osteotomy can correct the malunion. 

Other conditions not caused by bone breaks but that may benefit from osteotomy include swaybacks or hunchbacks. An unusually large chin can be reduced, a cosmetic application of the procedure. Your lower jaw could also be treated if your natural bite doesn’t line up adequately. 

Knees are a common target for osteotomy to take the pressure off joints that aren’t aligned or that may have developed arthritis. Bunions are often corrected using osteotomy. Deformities caused by trauma, disease, or genetic defects may all be candidates for an osteotomy procedure. 

Common types of osteotomy

Patients requiring bone realignment can be any age, from early childhood through their senior years. In many cases, correcting alignment or malunion at an early age can prevent complications and additional orthopaedic problems, including osteoarthritis. 

Some of the most common types of osteotomy have names, so you can research these further if you need to learn more about a specific surgery. Common osteotomies include: 

Contact Eric E. Johnson, MD, when you need the finest in orthopaedic care. You can call his Westwood Los Angeles office at 424-309-1492 to consult about osteotomy or any other orthopaedic trauma issue. Call now. 

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