The term osteotomy describes a wide range of surgical techniques that address bone problems. In fact, doctors use osteotomies to correct bone issues all over the body, from small joints in the foot to large, weight-bearing joints, like the hips.
Though the specific bone and conditions may vary, the goal of an osteotomy is always the same: to correct misaligned bones impacting growth, movement, or other aspects of daily life.
As an orthopaedic trauma specialist in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, Dr. Eric E. Johnson uses this surgical approach for countless ailments. Here are a few reasons he could recommend osteotomy.
What sets osteotomy apart
During an osteotomy, Dr. Johnson can remove, add, or reposition bones in your body. This makes it a versatile solution for correcting a variety of problems, such as:
- Bone and joint deformities
- Joint damage
- Bone misalignment
- Structural issues, like bowleggedness
This flexibility also makes it an effective solution for people at any age. In fact, Dr. Johnson performs osteotomies on seniors with hip malunion and acetabular osteotomy on children with hip dysplasia.
Plus, undergoing osteotomy to correct bone alignment problems and joint deterioration can help you avoid the need for more complex surgeries in the future.
When to consider an osteotomy
Dr. Johnson recommends osteotomies for several reasons, especially fractures and malunions. If you have a malunion, you have a bone that didn’t heal in proper alignment. In many cases, certain symptoms can indicate a need for an osteotomy.
Chronic pain and inflammation
One obvious sign of a bone problem involves pain. That’s because when your bones aren’t in an ideal position, it interferes with their function, often causing discomfort and deformity. And it doesn’t stop there. Instead, bone and joint problems can also impact surrounding tissue, causing damage that leads to inflammation, swelling, infection, and more pain.
Decreased range of motion
When your bones aren’t aligned properly, they can’t work right. As a result, you can experience changes or loss in movement. For example, suppose you don’t heal correctly after breaking your leg or having hip replacement surgery. In that case, it can cause your legs to become different lengths or interfere with your ability to walk.
Reduced quality of life
Your body is a complex, interconnected structure. That means that even the smallest bone or alignment issue can affect your entire system — whether you have a visible deformity or not. This is especially true for bone problems involving the knees and hips. It’s easy to see how a problem in either of these joints can cause pain and dysfunction in the entire leg that impacts daily life.
What to expect from an osteotomy
All osteotomy procedures involve anesthesia, either general (so you sleep the entire time) or regional (to numb a specific area). Once you get sedated, Dr. Johnson can assess your affected bone and perform the necessary technique to correct it.
The length of your procedure varies, based on the complexity involved in addressing your bone problem, as does your hospital stay and recovery. Sometimes, you can go home to begin recovering the same day as your osteotomy. However, other procedures require some time in the hospital. However, Dr. Johnson can provide details based on your condition and overall health.
An osteotomy could offer solutions if you have chronic pain, decreased range of motion, or reduced quality of life. To learn more about this procedure, schedule an appointment with Eric E. Johnson, MD, by calling 424-309-1492 today.