The purpose of a high tibial osteotomy is to move the weight off the damaged part of the knee to a more healthier and functional part of the knee and therefore decreasing pain. During a high tibial osteotomy, the shinbone or tibia is cut thereby changing the alignment of the tibia. The cut bone is stabilised in this new position with a plate and screws and often a bone graft is done onto the osteotomy area. A piece of bone that is removed from the tibia on the healthy part of the knee, will straighten the leg and bring the bones on the healthy side of the knee, closer together. Alternatively, the bone on the opposite of the knee maybe opened up and filled with a bone graft. The result is that body weight can be carried more evenly, relieving pressure on the diseased part of the knee and redistributed it more evenly over the healthy part of the knee. This treatment is used in patients suffering from osteoarthritis on one side of the knee. This is specifically done in the younger patient where a knee replacement is not indicated. In many cases the procedure can help to prolong the function of the knees and also delay the need for a joint replacement. The procedure can be very successful in relieving pain and other uncomfortable symptoms of the early to midstages of osteoarthritis.
Before undergoing high tibial osteotomy, Dr Marais will perform a physical examination. He may do an alignment X-ray view of the limb in order to ensure that you are a suitable candidate for the procedure as well as planning the procedure. This procedure is done as traditional open surgery. It is often combined with an arthroscopy in order to address the problems for the disease inside the knee.
After the surgery, Dr Marais will advise you on the best rehabilitation plan, which may include physical therapy and some lifestyle changes.
You will be mobilised by using crutches until such time that the osteotomy site has repaired by bony union.