Knee Osteotomy Can Postpone the Need for a Total Knee Replacement by a Decade or More

Is arthritis-related knee pain interfering with your active lifestyle? Find out how osteotomy surgery restores proper joint a

When osteoarthritis affects a weight-bearing joint like your knee, the ensuing stiffness, pain, and inflammation can make it progressively harder to climb stairs, stand from a seated position, or simply go for a walk. 

If arthritis damages one side of your knee joint more than the other, the resulting instability can take your joint out of alignment, causing your knee to bow painfully inward or outward. While pain medication, anti-inflammatory injections, and physical therapy may provide some amount of relief, surgery is often the only way to effectively address the underlying problem. 

Luckily, a total knee replacement may not be your only option. Find out how knee osteotomy surgery realigns the joint to take pressure off your knee and keep it functional and pain free for years to come.

Osteoarthritis and your knee

Smooth, pain-free knee movement is facilitated by cartilage, the slippery tissue that covers and protects the ends of your tibia (shin bone) and femur (thigh bone) where they meet to form your knee joint. 

When that cartilage is damaged by a progressive condition like osteoarthritis, it can cause the kind of rough, bone-on-bone movement that leads to chronic pain and poor joint function.

In some cases, osteoarthritis damage affects one side of the knee joint more than the other. When cartilage is worn away on just one side of your knee, it shortens the space between your tibia and femur on that side, causing your knee to bow inward or outward, depending on which side is affected. 

Knee osteotomy basics

Knee osteotomy is a strategic surgery that aims to straighten your bowed knee, correct the underlying misalignment, and rebalance your weight toward the undamaged part of your knee to help extend the lifespan of the joint itself. 

The procedure itself is fairly straightforward: Dr. Johnson simply adds a wedge of bone to — or removes a wedge of bone from — the top of your shinbone or the lower part of your thigh bone. This realigns your knee and take pressure off the damaged part of the joint.

During a high tibial osteotomy, Dr. Johnson adds or removes a wedge of bone from the upper part of your shinbone, just below your knee. As the most common knee osteotomy surgery, this procedure helps restore proper joint alignment, improve function, relieve pain, and correct a bow-legged stance.

During a femoral osteotomy, he adds or removes a wedge of bone from the lower part of your thigh bone, just above your knee. On top of restoring optimal joint position, improving function, and relieving pain, this procedure also helps correct a knock-kneed misalignment.

Benefits of a knee osteotomy

If you’re an active adult under the age of 60 who’s tired of being sidelined by arthritis-related knee pain, osteotomy surgery can be an ideal solution.  

By preserving your own knee anatomy and your remaining cartilage, this technique can help you delay a total knee replacement by an average of 10-15 years. Knee osteotomy surgery can also be combined with other joint-saving procedures, such as cartilage restoration, to optimize your outcome.

Although a knee osteotomy generally requires a longer postsurgical recovery time than a total knee replacement, you’ll have fewer physical restrictions once your bones are fully healed. 

In fact, many of Dr. Johnson’s patients are eventually able to return to their favorite high-impact activities and sports like running or playing tennis, which is not recommended after a total knee replacement. 

To find out if knee osteotomy surgery is an option for you, call our Westwood, Los Angeles, office today to schedule a visit with Dr. Johnson.

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