The operation involves making controlled cuts in the bones above, or more usually below the knee, and using these controlled cuts to slightly over-correct a mild bow leg or knock knee deformity associated with localised arthritis. Once the desired correction has been achieved, the osteotomy is fixed with a strong but lightweight plate and screws. Correcting the alignment of the leg in this way reduces pressure on the arthritic part of the knee and can also delay the progression of arthritis. Osteotomy is a major operation and following it a short period of protected weight bearing using two crutches is required, which may be of several weeks duration. The principle advantage of osteotomy in young patients is that it preserves the patients own knee joint, thus delaying the need for a knee replacement usually by between five and ten years.
In patients with very discrete damage to one or other knuckles of the knee, osteotomy is sometimes used in conjunction with other techniques to stimulate cartilage healing, i.e. micro-fracture. It can also be combined with ligament reconstruction.
The risks associated with osteotomy are similar to those associated with knee replacement.
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