Realignment Procedures (Osteotomy)

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Weight distribution across joint surfaces may be altered due to previous surgery, injury, aging, or congential deformities. These alterations may result in significant pain and premature degeneration of a joint. Realignment procedures (osteotomy) may be very helpful in correcting these problems by relieving pain and prolonging the life of a joint.

After the surgery is completed, patients are permitted to return to full, unrestricted activities. For younger, active patients, this type of procedure is much preferred to a joint replacement due to its durability. Alignment is corrected with a procedure called an osteotomy (osteo = bone, otomy= cut). There are a variety of osteotomy procedures for different alignment needs. 

The ideal patient for an osteotomy will have arthritis isolated to a single portion of a joint, good motion, and normal or near normal body weight. Prior to the surgery, a preoperative plan will be developed to determine the exact dimensions and orientation of the surgical correction. A knee arthroscopy is often performed to ensure there are no other joint problems and remove any loose cartilage fragments. The surgery is usually performed with only a 24-hour stay and partial weight bearing is permitted immediately. There may be the need to take a small portion of bone from the patient’s pelvis (bone graft) for the reconstruction.

The procedure takes approximately one hour to perform, and physical therapy commences shortly afterwards. Most patients use crutches for approximately 6 weeks following the surgery. Once healed, the osteotomy plate may be removed. Most patients are able to resume full, unrestricted activities following the surgery and have excellent function for many years. Osteotomy may also be combined with other procedures to optimize the surgical result from meniscal transplants, cartilage preservation, or other procedures. Fractures that heal improperly and other complex problems may also be treated with osteotomies.

To learn more about realignment procedures, schedule an appointment with one of our joint preservation surgeons by calling 888-660-2663 or complete the appointment request box.

Shown here is an example for medial compartment arthritis, the most common alignment problem.


Painful right knee before and after tibial osteotomy to correct medial joint overload and arthritis